0:02:36 AMHearts 0-1 Hibernian
|Hearts 0-1 Hibernian|
A Derek Riordan penalty 11 minutes from time gave Hibernian a narrow victory over Edinburgh rivals Hearts.
Calum Elliot came close for the home side before Riordan drew a save from Marian Kello at the other end.
Yves Ma-Kalambay made an impressive block from Andrew Driver as Hearts pressed for a second-half opener.
But it was Hibs who broke the deadlock after Christos Karipidis had been sent off for a professional foul on Riordan, who converted the resulting spot-kick.
The result allowed Dundee United to cut the gap on third-place Hearts to one point with Hibs now nine points adrift of their city rivals.
Hearts carved out an opening in the 11th minute when Lee Wallace worked his way in from the left and, after the full-back had been tackled, the ball sat up for Elliot on the turn but the striker's left-foot shot was gathered by keeper Ma-Kalambay.
Hibs, who were minus several first-team players because of injury and suspension, struggled to get a foothold in the game early on with Steven Fletcher and Riordan increasingly isolated in attack.
Wallace was in an advanced position for much of the first half and sent an effort over from 30 yards after collecting a loose ball.
The visitors threatened midway through the first half when Alan O'Brien mounted a counter-attack and found Riordan, whose powerful low drive was turned wide by Kello.
Hibernian kept up the pressure and O'Brien lifted a superb pass over the top of the Hearts defence to John Rankin, who chested the ball down before firing wide.
Ma-Kalambay saved comfortably from another Elliot shot shortly before the half-time interval.
Hibs were on the back foot early in the second half but in a rare breakaway attack, O'Brien dragged a shot wide.
Hearts' David Obua then found space to cross from the right but both Elliot and Christian Nade failed to connect, allowing the stretched Hibs defence to clear.
Driver, who was being watched by Coventry City manager Chris Coleman, was presented with a chance just after the hour mark when Ian Murray's clearance sat up invitingly for a volley and the winger's powerful shot was well saved by Ma-Kalambay.
The momentum was firmly with the home side and Wallace's cut-back should have been converted by Elliot, but he was put off by the challenge of makeshift defender Steven Thicot.
Nade, a first-half substitute for Eggert Jonsson, dipped a shot over before Hibs went into the lead.
Riordan chased a long ball and got in behind Karipidis, who was penalised for his challenge on the Hibs striker and promptly red-carded in his final Edinburgh derby appearance.
And from 12 yards, Riordan showed composure to roll the ball into the corner, sending Kello the wrong way.
The goal prompted a pitch invasion which brought a short delay to proceedings.
And despite a late rally from the home side when play resumed, the stubborn Hibs defence held firm.
Hearts manager Csaba Laszlo:
"This is probably our biggest problem this season - we don't score enough goals.
"The finish is very important and the season is very long. You have some painful results and this is very, very painful.
"Hibernian played the football that they had to play, especially in midfield where they were most active.
"They had one chance, they scored from this one chance. We had maybe two or three good possibilities and we didn't score.
"We didn't have the luck today. We must concentrate on the next games."
Hibernian manager Mixu Paatelainen:
"We had a plan to come here and take three points. How we wanted to do that was exactly the way it went.
"We knew that Hearts were a big physical side, sometimes quite brutal in terms of getting the ball forward and making things happen but the whole team, in every area, did a job and it's a great result.
"The central defensive partnership was Steven Thicot and Ian Murray. The boys have never played together before and today they looked like they had being playing together for years.
"Ross Chisholm and Lewis Stevenson may lack in height but what they have is great spirit. They are little terriers, really good honest guys who work for the team. They can pass the ball, they can tackle. It was an unbelievable performance from the pair of them.
"We got three points today, that's what we wanted. This is not an easy place to come. It's a sweet victory, a fantastic derby win."
Kello, Neilson, Karipidis, Zaliukas, Lee Wallace, Obua, Stewart, Jonsson (Nade 33), Driver, Aguiar, Elliot (Tullberg 83).
Sent Off: Karipidis (78).
Ma-Kalambay, van Zanten, Thicot, Murray, Hanlon, O'Brien (Keenan 75), Chisholm, Rankin, Stevenson, Riordan, Fletcher.
Booked: Stevenson, Rankin, van Zanten.
Goals: Riordan 79 pen.
Ref: S Conroy
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