HEARTS manager Robbie Neilson was thrilled with his team’s performance as the Tynecastle side triumphed 3-0 over their Edinburgh rivals in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.

Hibernian fell behind early on at Easter Road as Josh Ginnelly pounced on a loose ball in the box before Lawrence Shankland doubled the visitors’ lead in the second half with an excellent strike.

The Hearts skipper was then sent off for a second booking in injury time before Toby Sibbick added a third with just a couple of minutes left to play.

“I’m delighted with the result,” Neilson told Viaplay Sports. “We are in decent form but you always know coming into the derby that you’re not really sure how the game is going to go.

“But I thought the players were outstanding today. It’s a great result and we are in the hat [for the fifth-round draw]. That’s the main thing.”

Hibs had much of the ball for large spells of the game but Hearts defended resolutely before taking their chances when they arose.

“When we come away from home, especially here – and the pitch isn’t great – it’s hard to get control,” Neilson observed.

READ MORE: Player ratings: How Hearts fared in Scottish Cup triumph over Hibernian

“We were sitting with the back five at times with three in front and nullifying things, and then we have got that quality on the break as we saw with the final goal. It was more of a workmanlike performance than we are used to but it got us through to the next round.”

Hearts’ European run is over for one season and third place in the cinch Premiership is looking increasingly sewn up but Neilson is adamant that his side still have plenty to play for between now and the end of the campaign.

He explained: “The start of the season was always going to be difficult because the players aren’t used to playing Thursday-Sunday. It was a real learning curve for us all.

“But now we’re coming to the stage of the season where it’s Saturday-Saturday you can see the quality of the players that we have got here. Now it’s just about trying to kick on.

“The ambition is to get as close to the Old Firm as we can. Obviously there is a gap there at the moment but we can try and get closer. If we are looking up the way then we don’t need to worry about what’s below us.

“The minimum we’re going for is third place but also trying to win the Scottish Cup this time. We have been in the final in three of the last four years – it would be nice to take that next step if we can.”