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1 of 002 John Millar 78 L Premier H

Substitute Millar foils Hibs' bid to end derby hoodoo


13 Jan 1994

Hearts 1, Hibs 1

THEY may be a club in crisis but Hearts can always keep their oldest rivals under control.

They held on to their astonishing derby record at Tynecastle last night, setting up their twentieth consecutive unbeaten game against Hibernian, a sequence stretching over five years and 11 days.

They did it the hard way, too.

Hibs had taken the lead early in the second half through Keith Wright, at which point they seemed to have overcome the psychological barrier of the apparent derby hoodoo.

But they then went into retreat and Hearts substitute John Millar headed the equaliser 12 minutes from the end.

Six players were booked but, compared with other capital derbies, this one was nowhere near the X-certificate class, and a draw was just about right.

Not surprisingly, Hearts relied on the tried and trusted to aid their cause.

Goalkeeper Henry Smith returned for his first game since September, Craig Levein was thrown into his comeback match after eight weeks out through injury, and John Robertson was given a starting place rather than the substitute's role of late.

Another veteran, Gary Mackay, also was prominent as the experienced men made sure Hearts took the early initiative.

They might have gone ahead in six minutes, when Beaumont's headed clearance went to Locke just outside the penalty area.

The youngster met it on the volley but Leighton flung himself to his left to touch the ball away from danger.

Hibs did manage a solitary attack amid the early Hearts domination, when a devilish, bending shot by Wright went just outside the far post, but in the main they were forced to work hard to stay on level pegging.

Johnston was booked for a foul on Hunter but it was the result of an accident rather than malice.

Leighton had to come out beyond his area to beat Foster to a fine through pass from McKinlay before Beaumont was shown the yellow card for a foul on the Hearts winger.

Hibs began to look a little more confident midway in the half and one superb pass from Hunter to Evans brought a threatening, low cross which McLaren knocked for a corner.

Just before the break Hunter was booked for a foul on Leitch.

Hibs began the second half in aggressive mood, with a Hamilton crossfield pass to Tortolano, whose cross was just too close to Smith.

Their gathering confidence was given full confirmation by a goal in 54 minutes.

Mitchell sent over a perfectly measured cross which caught the Hearts defence static and left Wright with a simple header past Smith.

Hearts responded with a well-taken overhead kick by Robertson but Leighton was able to collect it comfortably enough, and a corner from Leitch was dummied by Foster and had to be cleared off the line by Miller.

Hearts then reinforced their forwards by bringing on Colquhoun in place of Foster.

Tortolano was fortunate to escape censure after a reckless tackle on Locke and it seemed rough justice when referee David Syme booked McLaren for complaining about the tackle.

Locke went off injured to be replaced by Millar.

Hibs then replaced McAllister with Jackson but within a minute it was the Hearts substitute, Millar, who made the telling intervention when he headed home the equaliser from a Leitch corner in 78 minutes.

HEARTS -- Smith, Locke, McKinlay, Levein, Berry, McLaren, Leitch, Mackay, Foster, Johnston, Robertson.

Subtitutes -- Colquhoun, Millar, Walker.

HIBERNIAN -- Leighton, Miller, Mitchell, O'Neill, Beaumont, Hunter, McAllister, Hamilton, Wright, Evans, Tortolano.

Substiutes -- Jackson, Farrell, Reid.

Referee -- D Syme (Rutherglen).

Taken from the Herald

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