Derby – Hearts v Hibernian

Heart of Midlothian v Hibernian

William Hill Scottish Cup

SUNDAY 21.01.2018


Edinburgh is, of course, the capital of Scotland and is located on the Eastern side of Scotland, near the Firth of Forth.  This is a city known for its spectacular inner city rocks of Edinburgh Castle and Arthurs Seat as well as a host of medieval and classic architectural stone sites.

Thanks to the huge towering Arthur’s Seat, spectacular views fall across all sides of the city; looking out across green hills, the North Sea and the classical tenements that line the streets. Unlike the more southerly capital London, this is a city that can be explored on foot, with your legs being the best way to navigate the narrow streets, passageways, stairs and hidden churchyards.

Such is the importance of the capital both the Old Town and New Town of Edinburgh were together inscribed as a World Heritage sites in 1996.

Given its a small country much of Scotland’s footballing narrative is based on the hostility between the Old Firm clubs from Glasgow – Celtic and Rangers. But across in the capital of Scotland, the Edinburgh derby between Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian remains one of Europe’s oldest and most fiercely contested derby matches.

The two rival clubs have a fierce rivalry that dates back to the foundation of both clubs in the mid-1870s. This Victorian dateline makes it one of the most historical running inner-city rivalries in world football with the first match between the clubs being played in the Meadows during the year of 1875.

Clashes between the pair run into more than 300 games.  In the late 19th and early 20th century especially the club’s would often meet across a host of national and local competitions.  The most significant match between the two occurred in 2012 when Hearts defeated its city rivals 5-1 in the Scottish Cup Final.

While Hearts and Hibs are the giants of Edinburgh football and it’s two main traditional football forces, a host of other teams have played or continue to play football in the city.   Amongst these include St Bernard’s, Leith Athletic, Edinburgh City and Meadowbank Thistle who have all represented the city of Edinburgh in the Scottish Football League.   These days another club Spartans from the North of Edinburgh, who play in the Lowland league, are currently pushing for a place in the SPFL 2.

Although it was common to see fans of both sides mix during the 50’s and 60’s the incoming of the 1970’s saw animosity between both sets of supporters intensify. Both grounds however as now all seated compact stadiums and amongst Scotland’s elite football grounds.  Passions continue to run high on Edinburgh derby day with regular trouble occurring in the city centre.  Both sides have suffered greatly recently including experiencing relegation.

In respect of this particular derby fixture, Hibernian are on a run of 9 games undefeated.   Historically, however, Hearts are the strongest with respect to the head-to-head record with Hearts having the edge with 138 wins from 309 clashes compared to Hibs’ tally of 80 victories.

These city rivals were meeting at this stage of the tournament for the third year running.  Hibs, the 2016 winners, had prevailed over its local rivals in its run to 2016 final and also succeeded over Hearts after a replay last season.

Hearts had a new feel about them as they threw on two new loan signings into the action from the start.  Mitchell on loan from Manchester United slotted in at left back and the experienced Steven Naismith from Norwich City was pushed up front to offer his experience.

If ever a derby match has a habit of being tight then the Edinburgh derby is that type of derby match.  Eventually, this cup clash was separated by a late Don Cowie goal; his effort creeping over the line after a header from skipper Christophe Berra.  Indeed, this was a goal that will be all the more painful for Hibs to accept given a similar strike was disallowed in a league clash three weeks earlier.

The absence of VAR in that game had meant Hibernian dropped two points in what was a crucial league encounter after the assistant referee failed to recognise that ball had crept over the line.

As a derby, the Edinburgh match falls way short of the Glasgow old firm game in terms of colour and entertainment.  Compared to many of Europe’s larger derby matches this is a tie that remains very popular with both sets of fans sharing a fair degree of needle.  The game continues to be a successful clash and regularly sells out at the turnstile. Barely is a spare match ticket left come the kick off of an Edinburgh derby.

This derby continues to be a highly intense match and this clash was no different thanks to the late goal.

HEARTS – 1: McLaughlin; 4: Soutter; 5: Hughes; 6: Berra; 16: Randall; 10: Djoum; 47: Cochrane; 24: Mitchell; 14: Naismith; 77: Esmael Goncalves; 11: Milinkovic

HIBS – 1: Marciano; 25: Ambrose; 24: McGregor; 4: Hanlon; 16: Stevenson; 6: Bartley; 8: Slivka; 10: McGeouch; 7: McGinn; 17: Boyle; 32: Shaw