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Aug 17, 2014

Nicholson magic earns derby honours

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A brilliant strike from Sam Nicholson - and contrasting fortunes from the penalty spot - handed Hearts a 2-1 victory in the first Edinburgh derby outside the top flight.

Nicholson gave Hearts a 76th-minute lead - and exploded a previously uneventful game into life - when he came off the right wing and fired a wonderful left-footed shot in off the post from 25 yards after nutmegging Scott Robertson.

Robertson received a second yellow card three minutes later after clipping the heels of Prince Buaben inside the box and the Hearts midfielder did what Hibs skipper Liam Craig failed to do from the spot in the first half as he found the target to double the lead.

Hearts striker Osman Sow also received a red card following an elbow on Michael Nelson with two minutes left and Farid El Alagui pulled a goal back in injury-time.

But the Gorgie side saw out the win to maintain their perfect start to life in the Scottish Championship following their opening-day win over Rangers at Ibrox.

Relegation for both clubs had failed to dampen the enthusiasm for the fixture, if anything the opposite after both sides began their seasons with three points.

There was a sell-out crowd of 17,280 at Tynecastle and there were six other players booked in a typically hostile encounter as Hearts recorded their fifth win in six derbies.

The victory was welcomed by all of a maroon persuasion but none more so than 20-year-old goalkeeper Jack Hamilton, who was booked for giving away a 31st-minute penalty on his Hearts debut.

Hamilton had been recalled from a loan spell at Stenhousemuir following injuries to Neil Alexander and Scott Gallacher, and was given the nod ahead of former Motherwell goalkeeper Lee Hollis, who joined on a short-term contract on Friday.

Hamilton no doubt settled his nerves with a good punch on Craig's corner before Danny Wilson headed over following the hosts' first corner.

Nelson came closer when he glanced a header just beyond the far post following Craig's free-kick.

Neither side could get in behind in a scrappy start until the penalty incident, which came from a long kick-out from goalkeeper Mark Oxley, who marked his Hibs debut with a goal in their opening-day win over Livingston.

Daniel Handling ran on to El Alagui's head-on and beat the onrushing Hamilton to the ball, flicking it over him before being taken out by the inexperienced goalkeeper.

Willie Collum immediately pointed to the spot and booked Hamilton, whose luck was back in seconds later as Craig sent his spot-kick wide of the goalie's left-hand post. To Hamilton's credit, he dived the right way.

Hearts were buoyed by the let-off and forced two half-chances for Nicholson. But Oxley made an excellent diving save from the midfielder's first effort and two defenders foiled the Hearts player following good build-up play from Buaben and Billy King.

Jordon Forster headed wide from another Hibs corner before Hearts right-back Jordan McGhee sent a 30-yard volley just wide with the last kick of the half.

Hamilton saved Forster's header early in the second half and the game looked to be heading towards a drab goalless draw, until Nicholson's virtuoso intervention.

Buaben then fired his penalty high into the net four minutes later and Hamilton made a good save from El Alagui's header before Sow saw red for catching Nelson with his arm as they battled for a high ball.

El Alagui volleyed home from 22 yards after taking a loose ball out of the air but Hibs could not muster another chance in the remainder of the four minutes of injury-time.

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