Hearts 2-1 Hibernian: Sam Nicholson and Prince Buaben seal Edinburgh derby win for Robbie Neilson's side as both teams finish fiery game with 10 men at Easter Road
- Hibs captain Liam Craig missed a penalty in the 38th minute at Easter Road
- Nicholson put hosts in front with long-range strike 15 minutes from the end
- Scott Robertson was then sent off for Hibs, after a foul on Prince Buaben
- Buaben dusted himself down to score resulting spot-kick and make it 2-0
- Hearts striker Osman Sow was shown red for elbowing Michael Nelson
- Hearts sub Jamie Walker escaped an alleged headbutt on Hibs defender Lewis Stevenson shortly after Farid El Alagui scored for the visitors
Ghana midfielder Prince Buabne scored in one of the biggest matches in the football calendar in Scotland when he scored for Hearts to defeat arch-rivals Hibernian 2-1 on Sunday.
Different managers and a different league. But this was the same old Edinburgh derby. A windswept, blood and thunder affair best viewed through the cracks of the fingers, it finished as most of them do. With red cards and a Hearts win.
The victorious coach Robbie Neilson came closest to the truth when he claimed afterwards: ‘Football broke out a little bit.’ He was being generous.
Hibs captain Liam Craig missed a penalty which proved the forerunner to another day of derby misery and recrimination for the Easter Road club and their captain.
Prince of Edinburgh: Buaben celebrates after scoring the decisive goal from the penalty spot in second half
Taking a tumble: Buaben was caught by Hibs defender Scott Robertson, who received a second yellow card
Marching orders: Referee William Collum brandishes a red card after Robertson's second bookable offence
Cool customer: Buaben strokes his spot-kick home to put Hearts 2-0 up with 10 minutes left to play
They were edging closer to a point when, from nowhere, Hearts attacker Sam Nicholson smashed a superb 25-yard strike into the top corner of the net in 75 minutes.
Three minutes later the visitors, in their white away shirts, surrendered any hope of a result when Scott Robertson earned a second booking for pushing over Prince Buaben in the penalty area.
The midfielder picked himself up to smash the ball high into the net from 12 yards for 2-0, condemning Alan Stubbs and his 10 men to a seemingly inevitable fate.
It all got too much for some. Osman Sow was red carded for a mid-air elbow on Michael Nelson and according to the defender, it wasn’t his first either. Hibs were also incensed with Hearts sub Jamie Walker escaped an alleged headbutt on Hibs defender Lewis Stevenson moments after Farid El Alagui had pulled a goal back for Hibs.
Stunning opener: Sam Nicholson unleashed an unstoppable shot from distance to put Hearts ahead
Raucous: Nicholson, left, is mobbed by his team-mates after his long-range strike found the back of the net
Easter Road skipper Craig won’t look back on his day with any sense of pride. It began badly with his dragged penalty scraping the outside of the post on its way past and ended with the midfielder being frogmarched down the tunnel for his own protection by a club official, red hair flaming with anger as he sought an old fashioned ‘square go’ with Walker.
Had he mustered even half as much bravado for his penalty kick in 31 minutes Hibs might have taken something from this.
Yet Stubbs refused afterwards to blame the missed penalty for his team’s defeat.
‘The penalty miss came when the game was 0-0 so I don’t think we can look back and say we lost the game because of it,’ said the Hibs boss.
Wasteful: Hibs captain Liam Craig skews his penalty wide with the scoreline at 0-0 in the first half
In the wars: Hibs defender Michael Nelson, second right, receives treatment to a facial injury
Winning coach: Hearts boss Robbie Neilson gestures to his side during their 2-1 win at Easter Road
That it was a key moment, however, is undeniable.
Hearts’ stand-in No 1 Jack Hamilton – the 20-year-old third-choice keeper – was cast into the fire after Neil Alexander shattered his cheekbone against Rangers last week and No 2 Scott Gallacher twisted his ankle.
He was doing fine until El Alagui’s header landed in the no-man’s land and forced him to rush from his line as Hibs attacker Danny Handling tried to muscle in.
Hamilton appeared to get a hand on the ball before clattering into Handling, but referee Willie Collum – a constant source of irritation to the Hearts fans – awarded a soft spot-kick.
To a chorus of boos and cheers, Craig’s run up was confident. But his low, sclaffed, left-foot effort looked horrible from the moment it left his foot, skidding hopelessly wide of Hamilton’s post.
For Hibs, a club which seems cursed in this fixture, it was happening again.
Emboldened by their penalty let-off, Hearts, on the other hand, were working up a head of steam.
Feisty affair: Osman Sow fends off a challenge from Michael Nelson during the second half in Edinburgh
You reap what you sow: Osman Sow and Jordan Foster, right, clash as the Hearts striker is sent off
Tempers flare: Hibs captain Liam Craig exchanges angry words with Hearts defender James Keatings