Craig Levein took a cheeky dig at Hibs after Hearts notched their first win at Easter Road for more than four and a half years.
Prior to the match, supporters in the Famous Five Stand unveiled a display reading “there is class, there is first class and there is Hibs class”, a quote first coined by Hibs legend Eddie Turnbull.
Following a fiercely-contested Edinburgh derby which was settled by Olly Lee’s stunning first-half goal, the delighted Hearts manager said: “It was a normal derby match with all the normal things in the melting pot. But I thought there was a little bit better football in this game than there was in the previous one at Tynecastle. I’m thrilled to bits for the boys because they took things to a really new level today because there is class, there is first class, there is Hibs class and the one above that, there’s Hearts class. It’s brilliant. I’m so pleased about that!”
Levein was pleased with the way his team stood up to the bombardment they were subjected to in the second half after the influential Peter Haring was forced off by injury.
“I thought it was a keenly-contested match and I don’t think there was a lot in it,” he said. “I was quite happy with the control in the first half, when we restricted Hibs to very little. Then, in the second half, towards the end, they threw Darren McGregor up and bombarded us with balls into the box and we had to stand strong and that is where Christophe Berra comes into his own, and I though Clevid Dikamona was brilliant today considering he is not 100% and Michael Smith was again fantastic in that position. We had to stand up and when we did maybe make a mistake, Colin Doyle had one save that was amazing. In that last 10 minutes he managed to save us.”
Levein was delighted to see Lee get back on the scoresheet. “We have been struggling to get Olly as far up the field as that,” he said. “He had a shot on Saturday, a bit of a rasper that he nearly scored with, but we have been struggling to get him into the last third because of an inability to get the ball to stick. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Steven Naismith is back and that affects other people’s performances. The way he cajoles and barks at people and leads by example and runs constantly and puts pressure on defenders. I could go through every player and praise them but that’s just Hearts clas, eh?!”