Hearts 1-1 Hibernian: Hosts seal Europa Conference League berth with draw

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Kevin Nisbet scores for Hibernian against Hearts
Kevin Nisbet’s goal levelled the match at Tynecastle but there would be no winner

Hearts held on for a draw with Hibernian to seal a European Conference League qualifying place and leave Hibs’ European fate in Celtic’s hands.

Two points clear in fourth beforehand, Hearts led through Yutaro Oda’s first goal for the club but the flow of the match turned on an Alex Cochrane foul on Chris Cadden.

Cochrane was initially booked and a penalty given, but the Hearts full-back was sent off and a free-kick awarded following a VAR review. Kevin Nisbet scored straight from the set-piece.

Hibs pressed hard for a winner, but finishing fifth means they are reliant on Celtic beating Inverness Caledonian Thistle in next week’s Scottish Cup final to reach the Conference League qualifiers.

There were ugly scenes at full-time as players and staff from both teams clashed and Hearts interim manager Steven Naismith confirmed there had been an unspecified amount of red cards shown in the aftermath.

Oda pounced on a headed clearance following a throw-in and beat David Marshall at his near post with a low shot.

Hibs were rattled but rode out a difficult opening to get a foothold in the game.

And their big chance came after Nisbet chased and retrieved a long ball. It ran loose to the supporting Cadden, who was taken out by Cochrane. Hearts thought they were facing a penalty with 11 players but that eventually changed to a free-kick with 10. It mattered little to Nisbet, who struck his 12th goal of the season.

The visitors were now in the ascendancy and veteran centre-half Paul Hanlon joined the attack to test Zander Clark from the edge of the box.

Clark then denied Joe Newell at a corner following Hanlon’s header down and a subsequent delivery was nodded wide by Lewis Miller.

That pressure continued after the break with Nisbet heading Cadden’s cross wide.

And Clark foiled Hanlon again after the Hibs man powerfully met a corner with his head.

Hanlon then crossed for substitute Harry McKirdy to head wide as time began to slip away for the visitors.

Elie Youan’s shot was deflected wide with Hearts camped inside their own box then Will Fish’s header was deflected on to the post from a Hibs corner.

There were nine added minutes but the closest Hibs came was a shot over by McKirdy with Hearts doing enough to secure fourth place and make their rivals wait until next Saturday to discover their European destiny.

With the whistle came came a melee on the sidelines, which trickled on to the pitch and players had to be separated.

Player of the match – Zander Clark

Zander Clark
The Hearts goalkeeper boosted his Scotland chances with some fine saves as national manager Steve Clarke watched on from the stand

Hearts get over the line, just – analysis

For much of the season, the prospect of finishing fourth would have represented a disappointing end for Hearts. However, a dip in form during the third quarter of the season allowed Aberdeen to take charge of third and ultimately led to Robbie Neilson’s dismissal as Tynecastle manager.

Finishing fifth was unconscionable but starkly realistic when Hibs got back to 1-1. Seeing out the final 59 minutes with 10 players renders the season satisfactory and may just secure interim manager Steven Naismith the job longer term.

With Celtic strong favourites to win the Scottish Cup and seal a domestic treble, Hibs will in all likelihood join Hearts in the Conference League qualifiers next season, which would be a good return in Lee Johnson’s first season as manager.

Johnson’s ambition at Tynecastle cannot be criticised, with attacking players Liam Henderson, McKirdy and Josh Campbell introduced in the second half. The winning goal just would not come their way.

What the managers said

Hearts interim manager Steven Naismith: “Entertaining, eventful. The game management I felt was brilliant. We got what we deserved for our work rate. We got the result we needed. It’s a red card. Alex doesn’t seen him coming, he nips in and brings him down. The double whammy is that they score from it.

“I shook hands and went to celebrate with the fans. I was on a yellow card, I didn’t want to get booked because I would’ve got a suspension. Shook hands, if it sparked from that, it’s got nothing to do with me. We’ll get the punishment we deserve, as will Hibs.”

Hibernian manager Lee Johnson: “It was a very bitty game. Understandably Hearts had to make it that way after the sending off and the equaliser. I was disappointed, I suppose, in the way that we couldn’t maintain flow. We let them off the hook just a little bit too much.

“I need more effectiveness from the bench and I think we’ll get that over the coming windows. We have to learn, we have to grow, we’re very early on this journey and obviously if Celtic do us a favour, it gives us a chance of European football as well.”

On the post-match melee involving the Hearts dugout and Naismith, Johnson added: “I didn’t see a lot of it. It started with a conversation and my dad’s bigger than you’re dad-type chat. It’s passionate in the technical area. I’ll have my way of believing how a manager should act in a technical area and he’ll have his and sometimes managers butt heads. We move on, we move on. It’s a passionate place, it’s a derby, these things go on.”

Line-ups

Hearts

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 28Clark
  • 12AtkinsonBooked at 90mins
  • 72HillBooked at 9mins
  • 15Rowles
  • 19CochraneBooked at 29mins
  • 14Devlin
  • 5HaringSubstituted forKiomourtzoglouat 18′minutes
  • 88OdaSubstituted forForrestat 77′minutes
  • 9ShanklandBooked at 89mins
  • 18McKaySubstituted forSibbickat 31′minutes
  • 30GinnellySubstituted forHallidayat 90+5′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Smith
  • 7Grant
  • 8Kiomourtzoglou
  • 13Stewart
  • 16Halliday
  • 17Forrest
  • 21Sibbick
  • 45Tait
  • 61Kuol

Hibernian

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Marshall
  • 2MillerSubstituted forHendersonat 45′minutesSubstituted forDevlinat 90+1′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 25Fish
  • 4Hanlon
  • 16StevensonBooked at 24minsSubstituted forCabrajaat 56′minutes
  • 14JeggoSubstituted forMcKirdyat 45′minutes
  • 12CaddenBooked at 63minsSubstituted forDelferriereat 68′minutes
  • 8Doyle-HayesBooked at 21minsSubstituted forCampbellat 52′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 11Newell
  • 23Youan
  • 15Nisbet

Substitutes

  • 3Cabraja
  • 13Hoppe
  • 17Devlin
  • 18Henderson
  • 22McKirdy
  • 31Johnson
  • 32Campbell
  • 33Bushiri
  • 36Delferriere

Live Text

Player of the match

NisbetKevin Nisbet

Heart of Midlothian

  1. Squad number16Player nameHalliday

  2. Squad number88Player nameOda

  3. Squad number28Player nameClark

  4. Squad number9Player nameShankland

  5. Squad number30Player nameGinnelly

  6. Squad number72Player nameHill

  7. Squad number12Player nameAtkinson

  8. Squad number17Player nameForrest

  9. Squad number15Player nameRowles

  10. Squad number18Player nameMcKay

  11. Squad number5Player nameHaring

  12. Squad number21Player nameSibbick

  13. Squad number14Player nameDevlin

  14. Squad number8Player nameKiomourtzoglou

  15. Squad number19Player nameCochrane

Hibernian

  1. Squad number15Player nameNisbet

  2. Squad number25Player nameFish

  3. Squad number4Player nameHanlon

  4. Squad number23Player nameYouan

  5. Squad number11Player nameNewell

  6. Squad number2Player nameMiller

  7. Squad number1Player nameMarshall

  8. Squad number16Player nameStevenson

  9. Squad number8Player nameDoyle-Hayes

  10. Squad number22Player nameMcKirdy

  11. Squad number12Player nameCadden

  12. Squad number14Player nameJeggo

  13. Squad number3Player nameCabraja

  14. Squad number32Player nameCampbell

  15. Squad number18Player nameHenderson

  16. Squad number36Player nameDelferriere

  17. Squad number17Player nameDevlin



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