Hibs' million-dollar handshake, the Robbie Neilson curse, Hearts fans equally senseless - Edinburgh derby extras

Here are the hidden extras you may have missed from Hibs v Hearts at Easter Road on Sunday ...

Million-dollar handshake

At the final whistle, and with the cheers celebrating Martin Boyle’s last-gasp intervention still reverberating around Easter Road, Hibs owner Ron Gordon and chief executive Ben Kensell shook hands in the directors’ box.

It’s likely Kensell was thanking Gordon for green lighting the deal to bring Boyle back from Al-Faisaly, the club he joined for a reported £3m just six months ago.

Things might have begun to get a little uncomfortable for those at the helm had Hibs been beaten at home in the first derby of the season having made an inglorious exit from the Premier Sports Cup last month.

Boyle's timely equaliser turned a defeat into what felt like a win.

Manager Lee Johnson later suggested Gordon advised caution when it came to the player featuring against Hearts. The owner therefore did not deserve all the plaudits for what occurred. Indeed, Johnson said he was heading straight for the boardroom to have a word with one "particularly key figure" after his post-match press conference.

But the American-based Gordon will have had to come up with the package to start the conversation with the Saudis about releasing the winger. He deserves some applause for that.

Hearts midfielder Jorge Grant challenged by Hibs duo Josh Campbell (left) and Elias Melkersen. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

“We spent a lot of money on him in terms of the deal and the way it's worked and when you do that, you need something back in terms of the players having to pay for that,” revealed Johnson. "He (Boyle) has done that today.”

Robbie Neilson's ongoing Easter Road hoodoo

Much was made pre-match about the Hearts manager’s surprisingly poor record at Easter Road. He has never been on the winning side in a competitive game at the ground and seems to be suffering his own personal hoodoo in visits there as both a player and manager.

What’s going on? It’s a fascinating quirk and although he came a matter of seconds away from rectifying things in this latest derby at Easter Road, Martin Boyle’s late goal means Neilson might have to wait another seven months for the next chance to post a victory at the stadium.

Hibs and Hearts captains, David Marshall and Craig Gordon, the former Scotland teammates, square up ahead of kick-off. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

The next league meeting away at Hibs is not scheduled until April 15 – the penultimate weekend before the split.

The teams could of course be drawn to play each other at Easter Road before then in the Scottish Cup. But as it stands Neilson has still only a Festival Cup win at the stadium in 2003 to boast of when it comes to Easter Road successes.

Although Hearts played well and deserved all three points rather than just one, the latest result will sting like a defeat.

Of all the stadiums in Scotland, it has to be this one where he appears to be a victim of a long-running curse. He even picked up a booking for good measure.

A pyrotechnic thrown from the Hearts end landed dangerously close to goalkeeper Craig Gordon. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

Scotland goalkeeping hero meets Scotland goalkeeping hero

Goalkeeper veterans David Marshall and Craig Gordon lining up against each other could not fail to attract interest. It's rare enough that two goalkeepers are the opposing captains - never mind former Scotland international teammates and rivals for the No 1 spot.

The skippers looked each other in the eye at the coin toss before reminding us why they have both endured so long.

Marshall has of course now retired from the international squad but he showed why he is still a loss for Steve Clarke by ensuring Hibs remained in a position to mount a late comeback for a point.

A double save near the start of the second half saw him exhibit impressive agility as he got up after blocking Lawrence Shankland’s effort to pull off a terrific save from Barrie McKay.

Gordon had already made a first-class intervention to preserve Hearts’ lead when saving Elie Youan’s flicked header shortly after the half hour mark.

Even though he was clearly hurting, it was notable that Gordon made a point of seeking out Marshall at the end and they shared a nice moment together.

Amid all the noise and fury, it was good to observe such mutual respect from a pair of seemingly ageless phenomena.

Flare’s flare

“Over exuberance”, former Hibs chairman Rod Petrie might have called it. But the pitch intruders who greeted Boyle’s late goal by having a wander on the pitch could be receiving some unwanted news before long. A Tannoy announcement before kick-off underlined that football banning orders lasting as long as ten years can be the result of misbehaviour.

Hibs were quick to release a statement condemning the pitch incursions and use of pyros as well as the objects thrown at Hearts players, including Alex Cochrane as he took a throw-in. The incidents will be reviewed from the images retrieved from the club's CCTV cameras, the statement advised. "Appropriate action will be taken," Hibs added.

But surely the most senseless actions were those of the Hearts supporter(s) who threw flares onto the pitch that narrowly missed their own goalkeeper, Craig Gordon, in the direct aftermath of Lawrence Shankland’s fine opener. One simmered dangerously by the veteran’s feet.


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