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  • Hibernian 0-0 Hearts, SPL

Hibernian robbed of victory against Hearts

ESPN staff
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Michael Ngoo could not find the net in the derby © PA Photos
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Hearts claimed a 0-0 draw against Edinburgh rivals Hibernian in controversial circumstances on Sunday after the home side had a perfectly good goal disallowed at Easter Road.

A Leigh Griffiths free-kick in the second half was well over the line but the goal was not given by the match officials.

The Scottish game's authorities recently ruled out the introduction of technology in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League or other competitions - citing cost issues, but Hibernian will certainly feel they were denied an extra two points.

Kevin Thomson was named on the bench for the hosts after the midfielder sealed his return to his former club on Friday. Hearts made one change for the derby clash, with Callum Tapping replacing the suspended Darren Barr.

The visitors had the best of the chances early on and Arvydas Novikovas slipped a neat pass through to John Sutton but goalkeeper Ben Williams raced off his line to clear before he could shoot. Sutton tested the Hibs No. 1 again with an angled drive that was comfortably smothered.

Michael Ngoo was also proving to be a handful in front of goal and his flick was cleared off the line by Lewis Stevenson before Fraser Mullen's rebound shot was blocked.

Hibs had enjoyed a decent amount of possession without posing too many problems in the final third. But they had the chance to pile on the pressure when Jorge Claros punted a free-kick into the box and Jamie MacDonald was alert to prevent a Matt Done effort from finding the net.

The Jambos goalkeeper then saved well from Scott Robertson from close range as the home side pressed for the opener.

Hearts made an enforced change with half-time approaching. Mullen had received treatment for a foot injury and he was forced out of the action after 37 minutes, allowing Brad McKay to make his debut.

As a hailstorm battered the pitch, the white ball was replaced by a yellow one as both sets of players battled against the conditions. The weather improved after the break but the match itself was still lacking any real excitement.

Ngoo carved out a half-chance shortly after the restart with a shot from the left that fell across the face of goal and trundled past the upright.

A lovely volley from Andy Webster could have sparked the game into life but he was denied by an impressive save from Williams. Webster turned provider when he nodded down for Ngoo in front of goal but the on-loan Liverpool man dithered over his shot and Hibs were able to clear.

Tapping then claimed for a penalty after going down in the box under pressure from Alan Maybury but his pleas were ignored by referee Euan Norris. At the other end, Griffiths - SPL player of the month for February - blazed a powerful shot just over the crossbar.

Griffiths should have claimed the decisive goal after 77 minutes when his ferocious free-kick hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced easily a foot over the line before bouncing back into play. But the far-side assistant failed to spot the ball crossing the line and no goal was given.

The home fans did at least have something to cheer about when Thomson was thrown into the action with five minutes to go.

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