Both Hearts and Hibs responded with incredulity after a coconut was hurled on to the pitch during the Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle yesterday. Police reported three arrests after smoke bombs and a range of missiles landed on the playing arena as Hibs secured the first win in 11 games at the home of their neighbours.
“We don’t want things like that happening,” said Hibernian manager Paul Heckingbottom. “I heard there was a coconut thrown on. That’s a new one to me.”
“It’s a nonsense,” agreed his Hearts counterpart, Craig Levein. “It is the first time I have ever heard of a coconut going on. Who has got a spare coconut to throw on? Honestly it is mental.
“The flares are an annoyance more than anything because the game stops and everyone is standing around. I just don’t see the fun in it.”
But the Hearts manager stated he was more concerned about his team’s failure to capitalise on spells of dominance, allowing their foes to move ahead of them as the teams head towards the post-split fixtures.
“The good thing is we have the [Scottish Cup] semi-final next week [against Inverness]. There is a real opportunity to progress and we have also got some big games coming up in the league. We have Rangers here and then Hibs away which will give us a good opportunity to try to make up for this one.”
With an angry response from some Hearts supporters at the final whistle, Levein knows there is making up to do.
“Listen, when we lose a derby match nobody hurts more than I do. I understand the nature of it. The players understand the nature of it as well. There isn’t anyone in the Hearts dressing room who doesn’t feel the same anger and frustration that supporters feel.”
The mood across the city is definitely more positive as momentum continues to build and Heckingbottom’s unbeaten streak in the league stretches to eight. But with that comes burgeoning hopes that they could still snap up a European place.
“When I arrived I would have snapped your hand off to just say we got top six assured with a game left,” said the man who replaced Neil Lennon in February.
“Most people involved with Hibs would have. So, it is a credit to the hard work and performances of the players that we are in the position.
“I don’t know if the expectations are rising, but I just hope they are enjoying it; enjoying seeing a group of players give absolutely everything for them.”