Michael Stewart and Allan Preston deliver Hearts v Hibs verdict as fourth place race goes to wire
The BBC pundit, a former Hearts and Hibs midfielder, believes it would take a “fantastic performance” from Lee Johnson’s men to win in Gorgie on the final day of the season. But that’s exactly what they produced in the 4-2 victory over Celtic.
“They are capable,” said Stewart when asked if Hibs can win. “The performance against Celtic summed them up. There is no doubt Celtic are off it slightly and there were moments that have gone Hibs’ way with the sending off and the penalty that gets them right back into it. But they were at it and a constant threat on the break.
“Can they go to Tynecastle and get a victory? Yes. But Hearts have picked up. It was another draw at Ibrox. It was a good performance against Aberdeen at home as well. It would need a fantastic performance from Hibs to get the victory at Tynecastle.
“But for all the downs they have had this season, there have been quite a few ups as well and they have managed to take it to the last game when they can potentially get ahead of Hearts in the table. They’ve got to take some positives from that.”
Hearts are two points in front of Hibs and only fourth place secures a guaranteed European place next season, with the team who finish fifth relying on Celtic winning the Scottish Cup and starting a round earlier in the Europa Conference League qualifying rounds.
Fellow BBC pundit and former Hearts player Allan Preston added: “Subconsciously for Hearts a draw would suit them, but you can’t play for a draw in a game like that. It will be something else.
“Lee Johnson has gone on a run of wins and then a run of defeats. It seems to be like that. It is patchy and you don’t know what Hibernian team is turning up from one week to the next. But the one that turned up [against Celtic] was excellent. Great result, keeps everything going. Cements at least fifth and it’s a shoot-out for fourth now.”