ROSS Caldwell scored a last-gasp winner in Hibernian’s 2-1 victory against Hearts yesterday, then claimed the balance of power in the city was shifting towards Easter Road.
The win was Hibs’ first in the league against their Edinburgh rivals for four years, and rounds off the first season in which Hearts have failed to register a win in the derby since 2000-01.
Darren Barr, playing his last home game before being released, scored Hearts’ opener against the run of play just before half-time – his first goal since his team’s 5-1 win over Hibs in last May’s Scottish Cup. Leigh Griffiths equalised direct from a free-kick – his 100th career goal - two minutes after the restart.
“The tide is turning,” Caldwell said after a result which put Hibs two points clear of Hearts, with a game in hand to come at Kilmarnock on Wednesday. “We’re undefeated, and that’s us got a win. Hopefully we can start next season the same way we’ve finished.
“I do believe it [the balance of power] is beginning to shift. It’s not completely shifted. Just because we went one season undefeated doesn’t mean it’s completely shifted, but we are getting there.”
Hibs manager Pat Fenlon said after the game that he had selection headaches to deal with as he looks ahead to this year’s cup final against Celtic on Sunday week. If he opts to play two strikers, it would be hard to overlook Caldwell, whose composure at the goal contrasted with Eoin Doyle’s miss from a similar position late on in the goalless New Year derby.
“I’ve got two games and I’m going out to do the best I can,” added the 19-year-old striker, who has also scored consistently against Hearts at youth-team level. “If it forces a headache for him then that’s brilliant.
“I’ve got faith in my ability. Their team is basically the team we played against coming through the youth. I get a chance and I score it. You need to be composed because you’re only going to get one chance.
“I watched the cup final on television last year. It was really disappointing to see what happened and hopefully it won’t be repeated. It would be an amazing achievement [to win the cup].
“Obviously we’ve got a long history of not winning the cup, so it’s about time we won it, isn’t it? Last time we won it was against Celtic as well.”
Barr, who has come to the end of his three-year contract at Tynecastle, suggested it would take a lot more than one unbeaten season before Hibs could claim to have the upper hand in the city. “No, I don’t think the balance is shifting,” he said. “That’s just talk. If you watched that today, there was nothing in it. How many chances did they create really? It would take them years of finishing above us before they can say they are dominant.”