THE last Edinburgh derby of the season went the same way as the first yesterday, with victory for Hearts and the name Callum Paterson on the scoresheet. The only difference at Hibs’ ground yesterday compared to the first fixture in August was that this time the 19-year-old was on the scoresheet twice.
Paterson was played as a lone striker early in the campaign as Hearts lacked options up front, but has reverted to right-back since Dale Carrick has established himself in the team. His future looks set to be in defence, but his versatility will stand him in good stead, and so, of course, will his ability to score vital goals in big matches.
“It was a single-goal winner that time, so to get a couple today was probably a bit better,” Paterson said when asked to compare yesterday’s 2-1 win for his team with their victory back in August. “They were both good headers.
“At the first I was aiming for goal. I didn’t expect it to bounce before it went in, but luckily it did. At the second one it was a good delivery, but I don’t know how I managed to get on the end of it. Luckily I did and it went in.”
While Hibs have not had their problems to seek in recent months, Paterson said Hearts expected – and got – a tough match. “We took a wee bit of a battering in the second half, and eventually the ref blew the whistle. It was great. We expected that. You can’t come to Easter Road and expect to win, but thankfully the boys pulled together and we got the win in the end. The season is ending too soon for us. Without the 15-point deduction we would be right in there, but unfortunately that has always been against us.
“But we’ve fought on and held our own throughout the season, and we’re a bit unlucky it’s coming to an end. The season we’ve had has not been great – we haven’t been in great form and we’ve always been bottom because of the points deduction – but to come away with four wins out of five against a Hibs team who have plenty of players to choose from, unlike us who don’t have much in the way of reserves, is a great achievement.”
While his manager has backed Hibs to stay up, Paterson appears to have developed a taste for playing in the derby and would be quite pleased if Hibs ended up alongside Hearts in the Championship next season. “We’d like to have a few more derbies in the future, so maybe if they come down it wouldn’t be such a bad thing,” he added.
Meanwhile, Hearts should move closer to coming out of administration today when the cooling-off period for their deal with Ubig ends. Administrators BDO are taking nothing for granted, and will spend today checking every last detail of the deal, but as the 20-day period came to a close last night there was no hint that any objection would be forthcoming.
Ubig creditors agreed earlier this month to sell their 50 per cent shareholding in Hearts to Bidco, the Foundation of Hearts takeover vehicle of which businesswoman Ann Budge is sole director. In special circumstances creditors are able to object to the agreement, but the lengthy and painstaking nature of the negotiations before the deal was struck has made any such objection improbable.
If and when BDO confirm that the shares have been bought, they can then proceed with finalising the Sale & Purchase agreement to transfer ownership to Budge.
Bidco will then be obliged to make a general offer for all shares in the club, with the ultimate exit from administration only taking place after that offer has run its course. A completion date late next month or early in June now appears likely.