Hibs 1-3 Hearts: Clare, Bozanic & Washington net in Edinburgh derby win

Highlights: Hibernian 1-3 Hearts

Hearts moved off the foot of the Scottish Premiership with a stunning Edinburgh derby win over Hibernian.

Three second-half goals – a Sean Clare penalty, a fine Oliver Bozanic strike, and a Conor Washington counter – earned Daniel Stendel’s side the victory that edges them above Hamilton Academical.

It is the first time since 1996-97 that Hearts have won two league derbies at Easter Road in a single season.

Melker Hallberg netted late on as Hibs slipped to a second defeat in 12 games.

Jack Ross’ side missed the chance to further their Europa League ambitions and could face losing striker Marc McNulty to retrospective disciplinary action after he seemed to stamp on Clare in the first half.

High stakes, big reward for Hearts

Derbies are often described as a game where form goes out the window, but you could not ignore it going into this one. It meant more than usual for both sides.

For Hearts, it was a chance to rediscover a glimmer of hope. While their run to the Scottish Cup semi-finals has provided a welcome break from their league woes, they simply needed points on the board.

Despite acting as Rangers’ kryptonite, Stendel’s side had taken just seven points from a possible 33 since the German took over at the start of December. But this win took them above Hamilton and, at the same time, disrupted Hibs’ hopes of a European spot.

The stakes, then, were high and you could feel the tension in the air. The Hearts fans filled their seats long before the first whistle and let off an almighty roar, a battle cry, just before the action began, letting their team know that they also expected them to show up.

Hibs thought they could smell blood, and included Stephane Omeonga instead of the more defensively-minded Steven Whittaker. It was a decision that proved costly.

Hearts caused the issues in the early stages, with only a superb flying save from Ofir Marciano denying Craig Halkett before McNulty’s alleged stamp on the back of Clare somehow evaded punishment.

Should Hibs striker McNulty have been sent off for this?

Hibs were looking a bit ropey and Ross would have been relieved to get his team in level at the break after Liam Boyce missed with a free header, but Hearts came out looking like a team challenging for Europe, never mind clutching to stay in the top-flight.

And when Scott Allan handled in the box, Clare kept his calm in front of a packed away end to send Hearts fans wild. Many of them will have ended up rows away from their seats such were the celebrations.

Hibs responded by bringing on Daryl Horgan for Allan and switching to a 4-2-4, but that only allowed Hearts more space and they certainly exploited it. Sweeping forward on the left, the ball rolled across to Bozanic, who curled a delightful left-footed effort past Marciano to seal the points.

And just when you thought it could not get any better for Hearts, Washington broke away down the left and advanced on goal before firing past Marciano to complete a drubbing. A rare high in a depressing season for the Tynecastle supporters and a night they will talk about for years to come.

Melker Hallberg came off the bench and grabbed a late consolation after Loic Damour had cleared off the line, but the damage had already been done on a sobering night for Hibs.

Man of the match – Clevid Dikamona

Giving a defender the award in a 3-0 win may seem strange, but Dikamona was fantastic. The Frenchman impressed against Rangers on Saturday when he came on for the injured John Souttar and he was superb at the back once more.

His reading of the game allowed Aaron Hickey to venture forward, and his physicality ensured he won the game-long battle with Hibs’ most dangerous player in Martin Boyle.

It was a cool, composed and assured performance in a game lacking all of those qualities.

‘It hurts and it stings’ – reaction

Hibs ‘lost discipline’ after penalty – Ross

Hibernian head coach Jack Ross: “You can’t down play the soreness of losing a game like this. It means an awful lot to people that come to watch the club and people that are associated with the club.

“It hurts and it stings, but in terms of the bigger picture it’s very easy to get caught up in the extremes of the emotion in football. That’s what we’ve got to make sure we don’t do.”

Hearts manager Daniel Stendel: “I’m very proud of my team; it was a great result for us. We are under pressure at the moment, but how solid the players were was great.

“The penalty was good for us because we got more spaces in the counter situation and scored another two goals. Not only am I happy, but a lot of people today are happy.”

Hearts boss Stendel ‘very proud’ after derby win

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