WHAT was that about Hibs falling apart again?

Hearts produced the kind of collapse their age-old city adversaries have become notorious for over the years in a cinch Premiership match which they were comfortably the better side in at Tynecastle this afternoon to squander the chance to move to third place in the table.

Steven Naismith’s team deservedly forged two ahead in the opening Edinburgh derby of the season thanks to a spectacular Alan Forrest effort in the first half and a Christian Doidge own goal in the second.

However, two strikes from Elie Youan in the space of two minutes earned Nick Montgomery’s side a draw which seemed unlikely in the extreme as they were completely outclassed during the opening hour.

The Leith club’s fans stayed long after the final whistle to applaud their heroes and chanted the song which is so often aimed in their direction in glee. Here are five talking points from the Edinburgh derby.

Forrest fire

The Hearts winger broke the deadlock with a sensational striker his elder brother James, the Celtic and Scotland wide man, would have been proud of.

The former Ayr United and Livingston man cut inside from the right touchline, outsprinted Jordan Obita and rifled and unstoppable left foot shot into the top left corner of the net from fully 25 yards out.

The stadium erupted as the scorer was mobbed by his delirious team mates. It was only the second time the  27-year-old had been on target in the 2023/24 campaign. He failed to add to his tally but will take confidence from his screamer. It will be a contender for Goal of the Season come May.

Hearts howlers

There was nothing that Hibs keeper David Marshall could do about the Hearts opener. But it had very much been coming. Alex Lowry, Toby Sibbick and Lawrence Shankland had all gone close before it.

Naismith’s charges dominated the middle of the park and bossed the game as a result. Lowry was responsible for a second after half time when his attempt took a deflection off Doidge. It looked very much like they were going to coast to another three points.   

They paid a high price for switching off and letting Youan in to net an improbable quickfire double. Shankland, Beni Baningime and Kye Rowles all went close at 2-2. But they were unable to get a third. They only have themselves to blame for the final outcome.

Hibs grit

Montgomery had overseen two draws and two defeats in his first four matches in charge of Hibs. But it was difficult to see why during the opening hour. His team were not in the game whatsoever.

They failed to seriously test Hearts goalkeeper Zander Clark and were fortunate to only be two behind. Their fightback came out of nowhere and fizzled out, a Joe Newell shot that was easily saved aside, as quickly as it had started.

Still, they did enough to earn a hard-fought draw and a point and their followers certainly headed home happy.

Kingsley blow

The only negative for Hearts in a first half they controlled was the injury which Stephen Kinglsey suffered. The defender was stretchered off with his head in his hands after pulling up with a muscle strain.

Odel Offiah came on in his place and worked hard thereafter. But Naismith will be hoping the experienced Scotland internationalist is not sidelined for too long. Would they have squandered their two goal lead if he had still been on the pitch?

Scotland’s No 1 derby

With Celtic and Rangers continuing to squabble like schoolchildren about ticket allocations for away supporters in Old Firm games, the meeting between Hearts and Hibs has become the top derby in the country.

The complete absence of away fans at Ibrox and Parkhead has resulted in the showdown between the Glasgow giants being played out in a strange and often subdued atmosphere.

There was nothing strange of subdued about Tynecastle this afternoon.

With fans of the Easter Road outfit filling every available seat in the Roseburn Stand and the rest of the Gorgie ground completely sold out, this was football as it should be. The action on the sodden playing surface was frenetic. Tackles flew in left, right and centre and referee Willie Collum had to show three yellow cards in the opening 20 minutes. There was some decent play too. The spectators lapped it up and generated quite a din from kick-off to the final whistle.

The pitch invasion by Hibs fans after Youan had levelled the encounter was highly unfortunate and could have turned very ugly indeed if their Hearts counterparts and encroached onto the playing surface as well. But it was quickly dispersed by police and stewards.

There has been criticism of Sky Sports for declining to show the Edinburgh derby live and the satellite broadcasters’ decision was disappointing. Still, there was much to be said for having this famous fixture at three o’clock on a Saturday afternoon.

Celtic and Rangers directors should take note, strive to settle their differences and try to fix their diminished derby.