Hibernian vs. Heart of Midlothian – Football Match Report – March 9, 2018
Scott Allan netted a spectacular first goal since returning to Hibernian as his side recorded a comfortable 2-0 win over Hearts.
The on-loan Celtic midfielder lit up a previously uneventful Edinburgh derby when he fired home from 22 yards with his left foot.
Jamie Maclaren sealed the three points in front of a sell-out 20,166 crowd at Easter Road when he wriggled his way past two Hearts players to slot home with 10 minutes remaining.
Hearts manager Craig Levein riled Neil Lennon when he claimed “natural order” had been restored when his side tasted derby victory for the first time in 10 games in the Scottish Cup in January.
But Hibs’ fifth consecutive home win over their rivals saw them move 12 points above them in fourth place in the Ladbrokes Premiership and the home fans let Levein know what they thought of his comments in the closing stages.
John McGinn and Dylan McGeouch bossed the centre of the park and Allan provided the spark Hibs needed to get past a resilient visiting side.
Hearts were handed a major boost when Christophe Berra and John Souttar shook off injuries to take their place in the middle of a back four.
The visitors set about frustrating Hibs and referee Bobby Madden was irking the home dugout as he kept his cards in his pocket for a series of pulls and late challenges with Steven Naismith and Joaquim Adao in particular enjoying the leniency.
Hearts were employing a makeshift five-man midfield featuring right-back Michael Smith and forward Naismith and they had to make a change 14 minutes in when Harry Cochrane suffered a hamstring injury and was replaced by fellow teenager Anthony McDonald.
Hibs enjoyed most of the first-half possession without carving out a clear opening. McGinn fired just over after a short corner and Martin Boyle forced a decent save from Jon McLaughlin after running 50 yards with the ball, but the fans in maroon were the happier at half-time after McGinn blazed well over from 18 yards.
Madden finally got his book out after Smith’s blatant trip on McGinn before reverting to his softer stance when a grounded Kyle Lafferty scooped Darren McGregor off his feet with his hands.
The breakthrough came out of the blue just shy of the hour. Florian Kamberi cut inside and Paul Hanlon laid the ball off to Allan, who took a touch and drilled a left-footed shot into the bottom corner past a motionless McLaughlin.
Hibs went for the kill. Kamberi flicked Maclaren’s cross wide before the latter held up a long ball and hit a wonderful shot that was tipped on to the underside of the bar by McLaughlin.
Naismith was just wide with a deflected effort before Hibs goalkeeper Ofir Marciano was booked for booting the ball into the Hearts support.
But Maclaren killed the game off when he collected the ball in the box and evaded challenges from Souttar and Naismith before finding the bottom corner with 10 minutes left.