Comment: Craig Levein and Paul Heckingbottom fighting for survival

It isn’t such a long time since Hearts last prepared to go into an Edinburgh derby while sitting at the bottom of the league. They were hamstrung by a 15-point deduction and a signing embargo which in turn necessitated turning to the youths.

Hundreds of Hearts fans protest outside Tynecastle after their team's 3-2 defeat by Motherwell. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNS
Hundreds of Hearts fans protest outside Tynecastle after their team's 3-2 defeat by Motherwell. Picture: Ross MacDonald/SNS

The subsequent win over Hibs in April 2014 was a sweet moment in a grim campaign, more so since it was the nudge that seemed to send their rivals into freefall. They, too, were relegated, via a play-off. It was Edinburgh’s new disgrace, a barely
believable and belated merging of status based on a pact of shared abjectness.

The point is, Hearts were severely
disadvantaged at that point. So were Hibs to an extent – they were playing the non-scoring version of James Collins up front. However, the Tynecastle side were operating while in administration and doing as well as anyone could reasonably expect. Relegation was unavoidable, although they did their level best to make a fist of it. Indeed, had then manager Gary Locke’s side not suffered a points deduction, they would have finished above Hibs.