Happy with a decent point at Tynecastle, Matty Fairnie hopes the international break can give Hibs a chance to do further work on the defence 

Now that the dust has settled on the first Edinburgh derby of the season, a pulsating 2-2 draw that saw Hibs fall two goals behind only to salvage an unlikely point with a devastating 82-second salvo from Élie Youan.

When I say the point was unlikely, it’s not that Hibs’ play didn’t warrant anything from the match, it’s more that Hibs tend not to dig these results out from two goals down in this particular fixture (with a very notable exception back in 2016 when goals from Jason Cummings and Paul Hanlon secured a replay in the Scottish Cup, paving the way for the team to win the competition).

Hearts started much the brighter of the two teams, and carved out the best of the early chances, Alex Lowry forced David Marshall into a neat save at his near post before Lowry tried his luck again, this time striking the post with a placed shot.

Hibs failed to take heed of the warnings and found themselves behind thanks to a cracking strike from Alan Forrest. The goal was no more than Hearts deserved at that point, and the large and boisterous Hibs support was growing more and more frustrated as their team failed to get to grips with the occasion.

The goal sparked Hibs into life though, and the visitors finished the half strongly with a number of half-chances and a muted penalty appeal that was denied after VAR review. I’d love to give an opinion on the incident, however with no live coverage and the BBC omitting the moment from its evening highlights package, I haven’t had a good look at it to say one way or another.

It’s a real pity that the game wasn’t chosen for broadcast. It was a cracker in a packed stadium, and a thoroughly entertaining match between two of the league’s biggest sides should be a prime opportunity to showcase Scottish football, and for the thousands of Hibs fans unable to secure tickets in the online scramble when they went on sale, it meant there was no legitimate way to watch the game as it happened. This is surely something the clubs can work with the broadcasters on to do much better on in the future.

Back to the game, Hibs started the second half strongly but found themselves two goals down after an unfortunate Christian Doidge own goal. The striker sliced his clearance and the ball spun behind him and past Marshall in what was jokingly described as a typical Doidge-style goal.

That was Doidge’s last action of the game, he was replaced by Adam Le Fondre, who was waiting to come on prior to Doidge’s mishap. At the same time as Hibs made that substitute, Hearts took off Lowry, who had been their stand-out player all afternoon, with the more defensively minded Benni Baningime.

It’s probably unfair to say that those changes turned the tide in the game, as to do so would do a disservice to a Hibs side who were already asserting themselves as the dominant side in the game, despite Hearts’ second goal.

Shortly after those substitutions, Hibs drew level within a breathtaking couple of minutes. Hibs worked the ball down the left hand side before Baningime’s weak clearance was picked up by Joe Newell. Newell fed Vente at the edge of the box who skipped a pass through the legs of Tony Sibbick and into the path of Youan, who slammed the ball high into the roof of the net.

That goal lifted the away support, who until that point were enduring a thoroughly miserable afternoon in the Edinburgh rain. That misery turned to happiness moments later with another Youan strike. Hearts had kicked the ball into touch straight from the restart, Hibs gained possession, and Youan sent Martin Boyle scampering down the right wrong. Boyle’s low cross was cut out by Sibbick but only into the path of Youan, allowing the Frenchman to strike the ball into the bottom corner of the net, sparking wild scenes in the away end.

Both sides had chances to win the game in the closing stages, but a draw was probably a fair result, which is rejected in the stats, with very little to separate the teams.

Hibs will undoubtedly be the more satisfied of the teams, a comeback is always better than being pegged back, and the result extends Montgomery’s unbeaten start at the club as we wait for club football to return after the second international break of his tenure.

That should give the head coach time to focus on a defence that still relies heavily on the forwards bailing them out (clichés about defending and attacking as a team aside). It feels like it’s not far from clicking for Montgomery’s side. The goals conceded on Saturday – a wonder strike and a huge slice of bad luck – were not the result of bad defending or even lapses of concentration from the defensive unit that we’ve seen this season, but with such a potent attack at his disposal, Montgomery will be seeking clean sheets in the two toughest fixtures in the league next up for Hibs as they face Rangers away and then Celtic at home. 

Montgomery has come through all tests so far if not with flying colours, then at least with a solid pass mark. The next two tests will gives the clearest indication yet of how far Hibs have come in the short time that Montgomery has been at the helm,  and how much work is still needed to be done.