Last week I was annoyed with the SFA for the possible postponement of the derby if there had to be a replay of the Scottish Cup match between Hearts and Club 2012. Then coronavirus started appearing and I imagined the derby either getting played behind closed doors or postponed. All I wanted was for this derby to be. Not because I was sure we’d win it, can’t be sure of anything in a derby, but because I wanted the atmosphere, I wanted to soak it up, have a laugh and a joke and, hopefully a win.
The thing about derbies with Hearts is that they’ll always be up for it. Since Romanov almost killed them they need the derby wins to feel good about themselves, and fair enough on that. The team, the fans, will always believe they can win. They have nothing else.
Hibs though. Are we allergic to them at home this season? Guffed 2-1 in September and now 3-1, yet at Tynecastle Martin Boyle beat them 2-0. Thank the stars we’ve met them in the semi-final stage of the Scottish Cup. An earlier round might have meant a home tie, we couldn’t have coped with that.
Just before I go on, a reminder that I am a Hibernian supporter right down to the core. I will never be anything else, but as much as I love them I will stand and say things against them.
On Tuesday night there was no fight. None whatsoever. There was no heart either. You can see when it’s there and it wasn’t. Players like Lewis Stevenson, Paul Hanlon, Martin Boyle, they play from the heart. Not sure I can say I saw it from Hanlon and Stevenson, Boyle – yes.
From the rest of the team – nothing. They didn’t even run out looking like they were in a derby, wanted a win. Far too soft, scared of getting their kit dirty or their hair dislodged. Hearts are a dirty, hard team. You have to match them or…nothing. Omeonga saw it, tried to be as hard. No one there to back him up though. Boyle always sees it. Paul McGinn gets it, but only because he’s sat watching derbies while John was with us. I thought he played well, just not in a derby way.
It’s one thing to be outplayed by your derby rivals. That you can almost understand. If they’ve played you off the park then all you can do is take it on the chin. When you’ve gone out there and played as badly as Hibs did then it’s almost unforgivable.
Scott Allan? Shocking. Shouldn’t have started. There is no toughness about him at all. Fine for other games, not for a derby. While I am aware we are crippled by injuries, we could have started someone else. It’s a derby and he came off the pitch with a clean strip.
Hallberg comes on as a sub and in the same minute scores a goal. This is a guy I would have thought would have been in the starting eleven. Nope.
Our front two were made almost useless by man-marking and we couldn’t work out how to resolve that. First half – McNulty was completley unmarked for one in-swingers, was ripe for a goal, no one noticed. That level of poor on-field decision making is unforgivable. Someone should have noticed. He’d have knocked it in, no bother, but no one bothered to noticed him. Almost as if Hearts would guess we’d miss seeing him.
A dreadful game from start to finish for us Hibees. No passion, no power. I don’t blame people for leaving early. You missed our one goal but I’m sure you’ll get over that.
This is what I have to say to Hibs players:
If you’re new to the team then get yourself geared up for derbies whether they happen in the league or in a cup. They are do or die games. You will be hated (temporarily) if we lose. Any loss to Hearts means the build up to the next derby begins immediately. If you’re not up for a derby then bench yourself and let a player who will play for the team play. Don’t be an imposter. Not challenging a Hearts player during a derby is a sin. Take a minor injury, or a muddy bit of kit, just get in there. They want to batter us, running away is against our law. Batter back, because apart from a couple of players, this was absent on Tuesday night.
Also, don’t get wound up by late substitute, Steven Naismith. All he has in his armour these day is winding folk up. He managed to wind Omeonga up. The man is past his best at football, comes on late and just does the wind up or fires a ball into next week. Does anyone come and tell Omeonga to ignore the tit? No. Captain should be right over there and taking our player away from it. Well, Paul Hanlon, you are our captain. It’s allowed. Referee can’t book you if you’re taking your player away from an situation.
Naismith allowed to sledge us and no one opposing him on the pitch. “Did yer hair wear off on yer ma’s headboard Naismith?”
We’ve a lot of injuries but they are not an excuse. With the squad we have available we should have beat them and it does hurt that we’ve not.
We’ve Aberdeen at Pittordrie on Saturday team. If the heads are hanging then you’d better get them up. They are a hard team as well and if don’t toughen up immediately it’ll be another three points down the drain.
No postives from this Hibees, we were shocking.