Hearts leave it late

Hearts 1 Mackay 84 Hibernian 1 Dow 51 Attendance: 14,923
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HEARTS versus Hibs may not contain the fear and loathing that the Old Firm will deliver today, but with the prospect of Europe and the chance to gloat at the neighbours there was plenty to play for in the Edinburgh derby.

For the first half you wouldn't have believed it, but after a debut goal from Andy Dow, a late equaliser from Hearts' Gary MacKay and several indiscretions the spectrum of derby emotions was complete.

Hibs surprisingly relegated two of their more creative players, Michael O'Neill and Kevin McAllister, introducing Dow who was signed from Chelsea two weeks ago. Playing as a modern wing-back he showed exciting prospects when coming forward. Twice he turned Hearts' skipper Gary Locke and whipped in crosses which Dave McPherson had to clear desperately from the feet of Keith Wright.

At the other end John Colquhoun created and missed Hearts' best chance as he twisted through the Hibs' central defence and shot between Jim Leighton's legs, but a stray ankle deflected his shot.

Soon, however, tensions manifested themselves in elbows and teeth. Pasquale Bruno drew an imaginary blade across his throat aimed at the Hibernian bench, then stamped on Leighton as he arrived late for a cross. Locke mysteriously lay prostrate on the sideline but not before McPherson and Alan McManus were booked for tree-felling challenges. A goal was needed, to bring minds back to the job in hand if nothing else, and Dow obliged five minutes after the break. Gareth Evans dispossessed McPherson and crossed low to Wright, whose shot was deflected out to Darren Jackson. Receiving the ball wide Dow hit low through Leighton's legs.

Hibs gained courage from this and Wright and his eventual replacement O'Neill both missed chances to seal the victory. Hearts seemed beaten and their best came from an outrageous lob from Alan Johnston, forcing Leighton to back pedal, padding the ball on to the crossbar and falling into his own net.

Seven minutes from time, however, they grabbed the equaliser. Colquhoun nodded down a John Millar cross into vacant space and MacKay pounced to prod past Leighton.

Hearts will claim it was all they deserved, while Hibs must regret those missed chances.