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By Stewart Primrose
HibernianÂ won the Edinburgh derby for the first time inÂ five attemptsÂ as they strengthened their hopes of a top six finish.
A Steven Fletcher goal early on was enough to give the green half of the city the bragging rights. The game was not immune from incidents with both teams having a man sent off.
The match was fairly evenly balanced throughout with both sides going close before Fletcher struck on 14 minutes. He got on the end of a cross from Alan O’Brien and the ball went in off the bar.
Hearts striker Christian Nade was guilty throughout, passing up many scoring opportunities as the Gorgie team searched for an equaliser. Their cause was not helped when in-form winger Andrew Driver had to go off injured after 25 minutes.
The game was fired into life when Goalkeeper Janos BaloghÂ was sent off after fouling Fletcher clear on goal. Hibs Sol Bamba was then red carded for being last man after tripping up Nade, although this was disputed strongly by hisÂ team mates.
Mixu Paatelainen, the Hibernian boss, was delighted with the win.
“These games mean everything to us, the supporters and so many people, and it’s a fantastic feeling to win the game.
“I felt that their goalkeeper’s sending off was clear-cut, but Sol Bamba’s was more of a collision and he was not the last man. I think the referee wanted to level things out.”
Csaba Laszlo, the Hearts manager, felt his side did enough to at least merit a point. â€œWe had opportunities to score through Christian Nade and Michael Stewart.
“You must put the ball in the net. If you score, you have an easy life, but we didn’t do that today.
“If you lose a derby, it’s painful. I hope we have more luck in the nine league games we have left.”
The result means Hibs stay above Motherwell in that all important sixth place.Â Despite the defeat Hearts are in third position, five points clear of nearest challengers Aberdeen and Dundee United.