Edinburgh derby bragging rights for Hearts

By Rob MacleanBBC Scotland

Did you know the Hearts team that won Sunday's Edinburgh derby qualifies to play in the SPFL Under-20 League?

That's a fact; which comes as a badly-needed boost for the future amid tough times at Tynecastle.

And, for those Hibs fans who've had enough of manager Pat Fenlon, it's probably the final insult. The talk of the toon in the capital really were the BOYS in maroon, in the words of the Hearts anthem.

Of the players who finished the 1-0 win in Gorgie, only two were over 21 - the two Jamies, MacDonald and Hamill. The other old-stager, Ryan Stevenson, had earlier been injured.

Stevenson's knee damage will keep him out of action for at least a couple of months and his absence reinforces manager Gary Locke's post-derby reluctance to scream from the rooftops about Hearts' first goal and victory of the campaign.

There's no margin for injuries or suspension in the young Hearts squad; they need all the experienced players they can muster.

But the derby win was certainly encouraging even if it only trimmed three points off the 15-point Scottish Premiership handicap with which they started the season, a penalty for entering administration.

We've already seen enough of Jamie Walker, Jason Holt, Kevin McHattie, Callum Paterson and captain Danny Wilson to know they're players of promise.

As of last Sunday, Brad McKay and David Smith have added their names to that list.

They're learning their trade; the Hibs players they were up against should, by dint of age and experience, be closer to the finished article.

It didn't show at Tynecastle and that's a fourth straight defeat for Hibs this season in which they've shipped 11 goals and scored none.

This Saturday's home game against Dundee United is, you would have to think, crucial to the future of manager Fenlon.

Anything other than a convincing win at Easter Road and there may be no way back for him.

There was little football played in that capital confrontation - the only moment of real quality produced the only goal - in contrast to the other match I covered for BBC Radio Scotland at the weekend.

Two leagues below the Premiership, Rangers showed signs that they could be good to watch this season in League One, helped considerably by one of the signings of the summer.

Nicky and Law are probably two words to reduce Motherwell fans to tears. He was a star at Fir Park and he's already having a massive influence at Ibrox.

It's a great bit of business by Rangers: not a phrase you hear too often these days in relation to off-field issues.

But, on the pitch, I get the feeling Law could be playing his football at a much higher level.

He ran the show in the 4-1 defeat of Brechin on Saturday and he's bringing the best out of Rangers' promising youngsters like 19-year-old Lewis Macleod.

Former Dundee United skipper Jon Daly is another smart acquisition who'll score goals for fun once he gets over his anxiety to get off the mark.

And Rangers will only get stronger when their transfer embargo ends and Cammie Bell, Ricky Foster and Nicky Clark lose their 'trialist' tag.

Last season, they won the Third Division at a canter but attendances were much more impressive than performances.

Life in League One for Rangers fans looks like being easier on the eye.


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