Hearts yesterday enjoyed a morale boost in the run up to their Uefa Cup encounter with Bordeaux on Thursday, and the fact that it was supplied by their deadliest rivals, Hibernian, will have made it all the sweeter.
Alen Orman and Gary Smith were the object of Tynecastle's gloating after their own goals gifted Hearts the points, but the soaring stock of Craig Levein's side was tempered somewhat by the discovery that their captain, Steven Pressley, will not be at the heart of the defence when the French side arrive to try to overturn the one-goal defeat they suffered in the first leg three weeks ago.
The Scotland centre-back limped off after 22 minutes with a thigh injury and Pressley admitted: "It is a blow to miss out on a massive occasion like Bordeaux, but hopefully the boys will get us through to the next round."
Levein said: "It was a number of games just catching up with him, to be honest. But he is such an important player for us that I can't really leave him out on any occasion. This was such an important game."
Hibernian shot themselves in the foot after just seven minutes when they failed to deal with Paul Hartley's inswinging corner, with Grant Brebner slicing it towards his own goal. Kevin Thomson tried to clear the ball off the line but it ricocheted off Orman and past the goalkeeper Daniel Andersson.
Hibernian almost equalised seven minutes later when Derek Riordan conjured up a hook shot at the back post, but Colin Gordon produced a superb stop to deny him.
Hartley almost doubled Hearts' lead early in the second half when his mazy run took him into the box, but Andersson got down well to make the save.
Garry O'Connor then came close to an equaliser when his glancing header from Riordan's free-kick just looped over the bar. However, Hibernian were caught out by their over-eagerness and Hearts went two up in the 66th minute. Robbie Neilson's low cross presented all sorts of problems and Smith lunged in to prevent Mark de Vries scoring, only to stab the ball into his own net.
Goals: Orman og (7) 1-0; Smith og (66) 2-0.
Heart of Midlothian (4-4-2): Gordon 7; Neilson 7, Pressley 5 (Webster 6, 22), McKenna 7, Maybury 7; Hartley 8, MacFarlane 8, Kisnorbo 7, Valois 6 (Hammill, 89); Kirk 6 (Wyness, 77), De Vries 7. Substitutes not used: Moilanen (gk), Simmons.
Hibernian (4-4-2): Andersson 6; Orman 5 (Whittaker 6, 45), Doumbe 7, Smith 7, Murdock 4; Brebner 5, Brown 6, Thomson 8, Murray 6; O'Connor 4 (Dobbie 3, 63), Riordan 6 (McManus, 78). Substitutes not used: Hyldgaard (gk), Glass.
Referee: H Dallas 6.
Bookings: Hearts: Maybury. Hibernian: Brebner, Brown, Orman.
Man of the match: Hartley.
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