Hearts' Ryan Stevenson defends tackle on Hibs' James McPake

Ryan Stevenson's tackle on James McPake.

Hearts midfielder Ryan Stevenson believes his Edinburgh derby challenge on James McPake was hard but "fair".

Hibs boss Pat Fenlon described it as "shocking" and visiting left-back Ryan McGivern called it a "red-card tackle".

"It was 50-50 and the ball was there to be won," Stevenson told Hearts' official website.external-link

"I went in hard but in my mind I went in fair too. It may not look great in slow motion but my only intention was to win the ball, nothing else."

Stevenson's challenge came in the first half of Thursday's goalless draw at Tynecastle and referee Willie Collum took no action.

"I thought we were desperately unlucky," said Stevenson.

"I felt we put in a good shift, a performance that was worthy of a win.

"It was a typical Edinburgh derby with hard tackles going in all over the pitch from both sets of players.

"Some challenges have been highlighted and others forgotten about but that's part and parcel of football.

"I'll always give 100% every week in a Hearts shirt, be it tracking back to defend, bursting forward to shoot or trying to win possession."

Meanwhile, midfielder Darren Barr is confident the youngsters at Hearts can step up should first-team players leave during the January transfer window.

Full-back Ryan McGowan has agreed a £400,000 move to Chinese side Shandong Luneng Taishan, while back-up goalkeeper Peter Enckelman has also left the club.

"There are boys in there who can come in and do a job and do well," Barr said.

"I don't think it should be a negative. At any club you just don't know what's going to happen, so you just need to get on with it.

"I'm 27 now. If I had a chance at 19, 20 years old to play for Hearts... hopefully they can kick on, because there's a lot of good young boys there, it's just about biding their time.

"For experience it can only help them, and for the future of the club."