By Stewart primrose
Hibernian won the Edinburgh derby for the first time in five attempts as they strengthened their hopes of a top six finish.
A Steven Fletcher goal early on was enough to give the green half of the city the bragging rights. The game was far from incident-free with both teams having a man sent off.
The match was evenly balanced throughout with both sides going close before Fletcher struck after 14 minutes. He got on the end of a cross from Alan O’Brien and the ball went in off the bar.
Hearts’ striker Christian Nade performed poorly throughout, passing up many scoring opportunities as the Gorgie boys went searching for an equaliser. Their cause was not helped when in-form winger Andrew Driver was substitued after suffering an injury 25 minutes into the game.
The game was fired into life when Goalkeeper Janos Balogh was sent off after fouling Fletcher when the player had a clear run on goal. Hibs’ Sol Bamba was then red-carded for being last man after tripping up Nade, although this was disputed strongly by his team mates.
Mixu Paatelainen, the Hibernian boss, was delighted with the win.
“These games mean everything to us, the supporters and so many people, and it’s a fantastic feeling to win the game.”
“I felt that their goalkeeper’s sending off was clear-cut, but Sol Bamba’s was more of a collision and he was not the last man. I think the referee wanted to level things out.”
Csaba Laszlo, the Hearts manager, felt his side did enough to at least merit a point.
We had opportunities to score through Christian Nade and Michael Stewart.
“You must put the ball in the net. If you score, you have an easy life, but we didn’t do that today.”
“If you lose a derby, it’s painful. I hope we have more luck in the nine league games we have left.”
The result means Hibs stay above Motherwell in that all important sixth place. Despite the defeat, Hearts are in third position, five points clear of nearest challengers Aberdeen and Dundee United.