Hibs Hang On To Deny Hearts

The Hearts applied most of the pressure throughout the match but could not profit from a host of corners and long throw-ins. Janos Balogh wascalled upon to keep out two soft strikes from Derek Riordan, who looked lively as a substitute.

However, it was another frustrating outing for Hearts, who remain in the lower reaches of the table, and their shortcomings in attack were painfully evident.

With Bamba missing, Hibs lacked height in central defence and Hearts set about exploiting that early on with a couple of huge throw-ins from Jose Goncalves.

And there was a scare for the visitors when Christian Nade's header was deflected narrowly wide.

Following a typically frantic opening, the game slowed to a mere frenzy, with the home side posing the more potent threat. On 19 minutes Hearts skipper Michael Stewart fired an awkward first-time shot wide from the edge of the penalty area after a neat one-two with Arvydas Novikovas.

Another high ball caused problems for the Hibs defence and when Ian Black connected with the loose ball 18 yards out his fierce drive was deflected over the crossbar by a green shirt.

With the cumbersome Nish finding it hard to hold the ball up and Benjelloun lying very deep, Hibs offered little in the final third. Stokes did manage to connect with a knockdown from lone striker Nish on 37 minutes but, at full-stretch, could not get any purchase on the shot and Balogh gathered easily.

The first half ended as it had started, with Goncalves shelling in another enormous throw but Hibs somehow held firm.

The second period opened with Andrew Driver making an enterprising burst from the halfway line deep into Hibs territory but the winger's shot was weak and failed to test Graham Stack.

Nish and Hogg were wasteful with headers inside the Hearts penalty box, while Black flicked an effort just wide with the back of his head and warmed the hands of Stack with a drive from 20 yards.

Hibs fans were on their feet on 65 minutes when full-back Wotherspoon let fly from distance and Nish re-deflected the shot with his head only to see Balogh get fingertips to the ball and push it on to the post.

Riordan barely tested Balogh with a poorly-struck shot on the angle, while Hearts replacement Gary Glen forced the ball wide from close range, with the final touch coming off his shoulder.

Stack spilled a long range dig from Glen in the final minute but recovered in time, with some assistance from Hogg, to form enough of a barrier to foil the onrushing Driver. On another day the ref would have given a penalty, but thought twice about giving it in the last minute of the local derby.