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Murray gives Hibs victory over Hearts – highlights & report

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Highlights: Hibernian 1-0 Hearts

Simon Murray’s stunning strike after just three minutes secured Hibernian’s victory over local rivals Hearts in the Edinburgh derby.

The forward lashed the ball high into the net in the third minute, after nutmegging Hearts defender John Souttar inside the area.

Hibernian dominated for long spells at Easter Road and might have increased their lead through John McGinn.

Christophe Berra came closest to equalising, but Hearts fell short.

The defender saw a second-half header saved by Hibs goalkeeper Ofir Marciano, and the home side saw the victory out.

Victory moved Neil Lennon’s side into the top six, one point and two places clear of their city rivals.

Hearts goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin<!–

Hearts goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin got his hands to Murray’s strike, but couldn’t keep the ball out the net

These games have more of a reputation for fire and brimstone than football beauty, but this one did have a class beginning in the shape of Murray’s goal.

The striker, so prolific at the start of the season and yet goalless in recent months, was only in the team due to Anthony Stokes’ injury, but he didn’t take long in exploiting his chance and, as it turned out, winning the game.

Hibs took the lead after Brandon Barker and Murray combined on the left. Murray cut through the Hearts defence and lashed a shot high into Joe McLaughlin’s net. It was a strike that electrified a packed Easter Road and it was also a portent of things to come.

Lennon had the kind of pace in his team that his Hearts counterpart Craig Levein just does not possess. Barker, on the left wing for Hibs, sought to take on Michael Smith at every chance – and usually beat. On the other side, Martin Boyle took young Jamie Brandon to the cleaners more often than not.

Hibs defender Steven Whittaker<!–

Hibs defender Steven Whittaker saw a shot pushed over by McLaughlin

This was the way of it for much of the night. Hibs pressed and Hearts hung on. That was the flow of the game. Hearts had little ball, little accuracy and, apart from a Jamie Walker chance, little or no threat until late on.

The hosts, on the other hand, were full of running, if not goals. It wasn’t that Hibs were bombarding McLaughlin with shots. What they were doing, though, was owning the ball.

They had mountains of possession and a few opportunities. Not many, given their dominance, but enough to put the game to bed a lot more comfortably than they did.

Hearts striker Kyle Lafferty<!–

Hearts created few clear chances, with striker Kyle Lafferty isolated up front

Just before the break, Boyle forced a save from McLaughlin and Steven Whittaker really should have scored from the rebound. At half-time, Levein brought on 16-year-old Harry Cochrane for Rafal Grzelak, who was over-run in the heart of the midfield. Hibs’ control of the game carried on regardless.

Murray threatened and Boyle wasted a decent chance. A slight edginess took control of the Hibs fans at this point. The lack of a second goal opened up the doomsday scenario of a late Hearts equaliser. Chasing the goal, Levein brought on Isma Goncalves.

Hearts pushed on, briefly. Berra had a header. Cole Stockton, a second-half substitute, gave the home crowd a fright with a close-range shot. So, too, did Isma on the follow-up. The finale would have been so much more straightforward for Hibs had McLaughlin not done so well in pushing away a McGinn shot nine minutes from time.

They would have deserved that second goal, but they didn’t need it. Only 1-0, but comprehensive enough for Lennon and his followers. They basked in it afterwards, bragging rights in the bag.

Post-match reaction

Hibernian striker Simon Murray: “It was important to get the win, and the goal was special for me. I’ve been working on that, getting the shot away early. I got the head down and hit it as hard as I could. That’s one I’ll always remember.

“We got into positions that we could have done better in, but the guys at the back were solid. We were never under too much pressure, but it would have been good to get a few more.

“[Anthony] Stokes is a big player for us, but I’ve been working hard and with him being injured that gave me an opportunity. I feel that I work hard for the team and that’s all I can do.”

Live Text

Match ends, Hibernian 1, Heart of Midlothian 0.

Second Half ends, Hibernian 1, Heart of Midlothian 0.

Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Michael Smith.

Attempt blocked. John McGinn (Hibernian) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Ross Callachan (Heart of Midlothian) because of an injury.

Substitution, Hibernian. Vykintas Slivka replaces Martin Boyle.

Harry Cochrane (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

John McGinn (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Harry Cochrane (Heart of Midlothian).

Marvin Bartley (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jamie Walker (Heart of Midlothian).

Attempt missed. Deivydas Matulevicius (Hibernian) header from the centre of the box misses to the left.

Dylan McGeouch (Hibernian) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Ross Callachan (Heart of Midlothian).

Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Jamie Walker.

Substitution, Hibernian. Deivydas Matulevicius replaces Simon Murray.

Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Jon McLaughlin.

Attempt saved. John McGinn (Hibernian) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Hand ball by John McGinn (Hibernian).

Attempt missed. John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

Foul by Brandon Barker (Hibernian).

John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Esmael Gonçalves (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Dylan McGeouch (Hibernian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Dylan McGeouch (Hibernian).

John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Marvin Bartley (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Cole Stockton (Heart of Midlothian).

Attempt saved. Christophe Berra (Heart of Midlothian) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Lewis Stevenson.

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Cole Stockton replaces Euan Henderson.

Steven Whittaker (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Harry Cochrane (Heart of Midlothian).

Attempt missed. Brandon Barker (Hibernian) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Esmael Gonçalves (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Dylan McGeouch (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Esmael Gonçalves (Heart of Midlothian).

Foul by Martin Boyle (Hibernian).

Christophe Berra (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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