Robbie Neilson praises stand-in Hearts keeper Jack Hamilton

Hearts goalkeeper Jack Hamilton
Jack Hamilton has had loan spells at Forfar, East Stirling, East Fife and Stenhousemuir

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson thought goalkeeper Jack Hamilton was perhaps the best player on the pitch in their

Hamilton, 20, made his Hearts debut at a packed Tynecastle after injury ruled out Neil Alexander and Scott Gallacher.

"I had no issues about bringing him in. I worked with him last year," said Neilson, the club's former youth coach.

"He could have been man of the match today. It was an intense atmosphere. He handled it like a seasoned pro."

Hearts followed last Sunday's win over Rangers in the Championship with victory over the other side expected to challenge for the title.

Hamilton, in truth, was not tested very often by a disappointing Hibs side but he was central to a moment of controversy in the first half when he was booked and conceded a penalty when he rushed out to challenge Danny Handling.

Hibs captain Liam Craig screwed the spot-kick wide, much to Neilson's relief.

"Thankfully it didn't have a big bearing on the game," he told BBC Scotland.

"It was a huge moment. We rode our luck a little bit but over the piece we did enough to merit the win."

Hamilton was beaten by a 90th-minute strike by Farid El Alagui but by that point Hearts were leading 2-0 thanks to goals by Sam Nicholson and Prince Buaben, the latter from the spot.

However, Lee Hollis will replace Hamilton in goal for Hearts' game at Livingston in the Petrofac Training Cup on Wednesday because the keeper has already played for Stenhousemuir in the competition while on loan.

"He's cup-tied for the midweek game," explained Neilson.

"We sent him to Stenhousemuir. We had the option whether we let him play him in the cup ties or kept him out. In hindsight we should have kept him out but I wanted him to play in bigger games.

"If Stenhousemuir had drawn maybe Rangers or Celtic it would have been great experience for him.

"He's going to get opportunities this season. I'm really pleased for him.

"But Lee is an experienced keeper. He played a lot of games for Motherwell."

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson guides his team at Tynecastle as Hibs manager Alan Stubbs looks on
Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson guides his team at Tynecastle as Hibs manager Alan Stubbs looks on

Neilson admitted the Edinburgh derby was a frantic affair and praised Nicholson for displaying the touch of class needed to break the stalemate, a curling left-foot shot from 25 yards into the corner of the goal.

He said: "I thought it was very tight and competitive. There were a lot of tackles flying in. Some bits of football broke out now and again but the majority of it was very tense.

"It was a full house and a big atmosphere; there was a lot of pressure on both teams.

"We knew once the game died down after 60-70 minutes that we had the players who could cause problems.

"Sam showed that. He has great ability and great technique and if he gets into those wee pockets he can produce things like that for us."

One disappointing aspect of the derby for Neilson was the late red card shown to striker Osman Sow for elbowing Hibs defender Michael Nelson when going up for a header.

"I'll have to have a look at Osman's red card and see what the contact was but I can't comment just now because I was 60-70 yards away," said the head coach.

"He's a big, strong, awkward player. I know there's no malice in anything he does. He's a gentle giant. If there was any contact with the elbow I know 100% it would have been accidental.

"Maybe it's something we need to work on, the way he goes up challenging for a ball."

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