Heart of Midlothian vs. Hibernian – Football Match Report – December 27, 2017
Hibernian were denied an Edinburgh derby win when the officials failed to spot Oli Shaw’s early strike bouncing over the line.
Hearts went on to keep a fifth consecutive clean sheet but it owed much to the clear mistake by referee Steven McLean and his team seven minutes into a clash that finished 0-0 in front of a sell-out 19,316 crowd at the redeveloped Tynecastle.
Hibs were the better side in a stop-start first half and pushed for a winner but Hearts’ Kyle Lafferty missed a great chance to prevent the Leith side extending their unbeaten run in the fixture to nine matches.
Hearts midfielder Jamie Walker fired over from 12 yards in the first chance of the game before controversy struck. Shaw was so sure his effort had bounced behind the line after he hit Martin Boyle’s cutback off the underside of the bar that he started celebrating, but his joy was short-lived as McLean waved play on.
The ball looked over from the halfway line and both the referee and his assistant, Sean Carr, were well-placed but neither called it and television pictures proved them wrong.
Carr continued to play a central role with a series of Hibs attacks falling foul of his offside flag while John McGinn and Anthony Stokes both failed to catch hold of shooting chances from around the edge of the box.
Lafferty shot wide at the other end after hitting a free-kick into the wall but Hibs were having most of the possession and were the team trying to build some attacks.
Hibs head coach Neil Lennon, who was spoken to by McLean in the aftermath of the goal-line controversy, grew increasingly frustrated as his side’s play was disrupted by a number of Hearts fouls – 11 in the first half – and Lafferty, Walker and David Milinkovic were booked for the hosts.
Hearts reappeared with far more ambition and drive but, after losing Connor Randall to injury, Lafferty knocked Walker’s cutback wide from six yards.
Hibs came back into it and Boyle, twice, and Shaw were off target from half chances before Marvin Bartley became their first man in the book for hauling back Walker.
The visitors lost Boyle and his replacement, Brandon Barker, to injury and there was a dearth of meaningful goalmouth action in the final quarter, although Hearts had a late penalty claim rejected when the ball appeared to hit the arm of Lewis Stevenson.