Hibs 0 Hearts 1
Updated Sunday, 1st April 2007
Derby games can never be predicted and Hearts stole the thunder from confident Hibs.
Hibs fans taunted their rivals with cut-outs of their new trophy but Hearts made a positive start and Andrew Driver forced Andy McNeil to beat away his powerful strike from the left edge of the area. Hibs gradually settled and produced a superb move in the 15th minute which brought a good save from Craig Gordon. Zemmama's quick free-kick found Lewis Stevenson's clever run and Steven Fletcher knocked the youngster's cross into the path of Scott Brown, whose 12-yard strike was palmed away. The Scotland keeper then caught Fletcher's header from a David Murphy cross and Hibs continued to attack. Bruno Aguiar cleared Abdessalam Benjelloun's header from the goalmouth and Rob Jones headed over from a second corner inside a minute. Hibs were spraying the ball around but Murphy and Fletcher both wasted good free-kick opportunities from the edge of the area by shooting harmlessly over. The pressure subsided before the half-hour mark and Hearts saw more of the ball. Andrius Velicka muscled his way past several home defenders but could not get enough power in his shot from the right edge of the area. McNeil was twice forced to backtrack to save the ball going in through miskicks from 30 yards out, first from Murphy as he beat Velicka to a long ball, and then from Karipidis' sliced cross. Gordon was well-placed to save Stevenson's 25-yard volley at the other end.
Neither side could keep the ball in the opening stages of the second period but Hibs assumed the territorial advantage. Jones headed over from Murphy's free-kick as team-mate Guillaume Beuzelin challenged for the same ball. The home fans called for Sproule and the winger replaced Zemmama on the hour mark before Jones headed wide from a difficult angle at another Murphy set-piece. With Zaliukas and Christophe Berra defending superbly at the centre of the Hearts defence, Sproule's pace on the right seemed Hibernian's best option. But when the Northern Ireland winger did find his way past the solid Jose Goncalves, he blasted well over from 25 yards. Hearts looked increasingly comfortable and Zaliukas shot into the bottom corner in the 81st minute after McNeil could only palm a deep Driver free-kick as he and Jones went for the same ball. Beuzelin shot wide from 20 yards as Hibs threw men forward and Gordon produced a superb diving stop from Sproule in the last minute after a rare error from Zaliukas. Gordon easily saved Brown's overhead kick before he and his team-mates enthusiastically celebrated their first win at Easter Road for four and a half years.
Hibs: McNeil, Whittaker, Stevenson (Stewart 74), Hogg, Jones, Fletcher (Sowunmi 89), Brown Scott, Murphy, Zemmama (Sproule 60), Beuzelin, Benjelloun
Subs not used: Brown Simon, Martis, McCann, Chisholm
Hearts: Gordon, Goncalves, Zaliukas, Karipidis, Berra, Brellier, Bruno Aguiar, Driver (Fyssas 88), Ivaskevicius, Velicka (Pospisil 77), Pilibaitis (Jonsson 66)
Subs not used: Banks, Mackle, Kelly, Armstrong,
Booked: Brellier, Zaliukas, Pilibaitis, Driver, Pospisil
Goals: Zaliukas 81
Referee: K Clarke