Here are three Hibs-related observations from tonight’s goalless Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle.
Darren McGregor back at his commanding best
Darren McGregor has had a frustrating start to the campaign with his early-season injury troubles followed by a run on the subs’ bench before he forced his way back into the starting XI at Celtic Park recently. The veteran centre-back was a commanding presence for Hibs, repelling everything that came near his team’s goal. With Paul Hanlon still sidelined by injury, it will have come as a major boost to manager Neil Lennon to see McGregor, a mainstay of the team over the past three years, back in the thick of it.
Marvin Bartley loves playing at Tynecastle
Marvin Bartley has played a big part in ensuring Hibs have rarely been outmuscled in Edinburgh derbies over the past few years and it came as little surprise that, after being absent from the starting lineup since getting injured against Molde in Norway in August, he was thrust back into the Hibs engine room for a match which traditionally descends into a battle. There was a further boost for the combative Englishman when he was handed the captaincy in the absence of David Gray and Paul Hanlon, and he seemed to thrive on the responsibility of leading his team in enemy territory. Although fortunate to escape with only a booking for a reckless early tackle on Peter Haring, Bartley kept his discipline well thereafter in an arena where he is always relentlessly goaded by the Hearts support.
A frustrating night for the strikers
The front two of Martin Boyle and Florian Kamberi were generally snuffed out by Hearts’ centre-backs, with neither striker able to get a clear sight of goal all night. As frustration descended after the break, Boyle was booked for getting into a shoving match with Michael Smith, while a worse fate befell Kamberi when he was sent off after a second bookable offence. A rare off-night for two of Hibs’ key men.