HEARTS secured a fourth-placed finish after a pulsating Edinburgh derby ended level on goals, and just about on the body count too.

It was a contest that was always likely to be more about brawn than brilliant football, and despite Hibs’ best efforts, they just couldn’t land the knockout blow.

Yutaro Oda lit the blue touch paper in a combustible Tynecastle atmosphere, but a Kevin Nisbet leveller from a free kick after Alex Cochrane had been sent off for a challenge on Chris Cadden levelled things up for the Hibees.

We even had the spectacle of Hearts substitute keeper Ross Stewart throwing a hot water bottle at Hibs manager Lee Johnson, with those tensions boiling over at the end as a scrap between Stewart and injured Hibs defender CJ Egan-Riley spilled over into a mass shoving match between the opposing players and backroom staff in the centre circle.

Here are the talking points from an epic clash in the capital…


In many ways, Naismith has done his prospects of taking on the Hearts job on a permanent basis no harm since his Tynecastle promotion from the B team, steadying a ship that was listing badly jut prior to Robbie Neilson getting his jotters.

However, a cautious - if understandable - second half approach here could and probably should have backfired, with only the excellent goalkeeping of Zander Clark in clawing out a Paul Hanlon header and Will Fish finding the woodwork from close range stopping Hibs from getting the vital goal they needed to complete their comeback and leapfrog the Jambos.

You could argue that on the day, such an outcome would have been a deserved one for both teams, with Hibs pushing for the winner and seizing the upper hand in the game that Hearts had relinquished not too long after Oda’s early opener.

By the end - and for some time before it -  the ten men of Hearts were hanging on for grim life, but hang on they did, and as the old adage goes, the table doesn’t lie. They are the top team in Edinburgh this season.

As for Naismith, that represents a steady if unspectacular return from his time in temporary charge, and it remains to be seen if that will be enough to convince the Hearts board he deserves the job on a permanent basis.


As for Lee Johnson, he has managed to see out the season where Neilson did not, despite some travails of his own. In the end, a fifth placed finish and qualification for the second phase of Conference League qualification (presuming Celtic do what is expected and win the Scottish Cup) just about represents even par for a club of Hibernian’s stature, and certainly no better than that.

Yes, they were unfortunate here not to have their endeavour rewarded with a winner that would have seen them seize fourth place, but they just didn’t have the quality to break down the Hearts defence in the end.

While the win over Celtic in midweek was one of a few highlights dotted throughout the season, there is no escaping the feeling that the campaign as a whole was all a little forgettable for the Easter Road side, and Johnson must do better to make a fist of the fight for third next time around.


Fresh from setting up the opening goal for Hearts at Ibrox during the week with one of his trademark long throw-ins, defender James Hill was at it again here, as Hibs failed to deal with an early missile that he tossed into there area from the right-hand side.

The defensive header from Will Fish only found Oda, who took a great first touch and rifled the ball low past David Marshall for the opening goal of the game, and his first goal in a Hearts jersey.

At that point, Hearts looked odds-on favourites to at the very least claim the point they needed to secure fourth place, but a seemingly shell-shocked Hibs outfit would soon belatedly burst into life.


Hibs had been poor in the game until a long ball over the top in the 25th minute sent Nisbet scampering in behind the Hearts defence. The ball eventually made its way to Cadden, whose touch took it beyond the despairing tackle of Cochrane. Unfortunately for the Hearts defender, he then clattered into the Hibs man, and referee Don Robertson pointed to the penalty spot.

Robertson produced a yellow card, leaving the only apparent issue for VAR to resolve being whether Nisbet was offside in the lead up to the penalty award.

Indeed, a loud cheer went up from the Hearts support as Robertson was called over the monitor, with the assumption being that the spot-kick was about to be overturned, but their bubble was instantly burst as the big screens showed he was checking whether he should in fact have sent off Cochrane.

Cue huge cheers from the Hibs end, but those themselves were soon cut short as Robertson did in fact conclude that he had also erred in his judgement that the infringement had taken place inside the area, and instead awarded a free kick on the edge of the box.

You get the gist by now. The Hearts fans again cheered, but it hadn’t dawned on them that if the decision was a free kick, then a red card would indeed be coming the way of Cochrane due to the double jeopardy rule. Nisbet then stepped up and bulleted the free kick low into the net past Clark, putting their gas at a peep once more and making the Hibs end explode with joy.

The delays caused by VAR can be a chore for supporters, but the technology certainly added to the drama here.


Not to indulge in stereotypes, but the Australian did his bit to uphold the reputation of his famously brash countrymen with a typically bullish pre-match press conference in which he declared in no uncertain terms that Hibs were ready to overhaul their city rivals.

Hearts captain Lawrence Shankland seemed to take exception to those remarks, dumping the right-back onto his backside within the opening 30 seconds. He was more than up for the scrap though.

He should have had a goal to his name, heading wide from close range in the first half, but he defended his corner well throughout, and his own long throw-ins were also a big weapon. Indeed, some Hearts fans used that very phrase to describe him as he lined one up in front of the Main Stand, though it is doubtful they meant it as a compliment.