Hibernian 2-0 Hearts: Stubbs delighted by response from players

Jason Cummings (centre) scored the opening goal at Easter Road
Jason Cummings (centre) scored the opening goal at Easter Road

Manager Alan Stubbs sees a bright future for Hibernian after enjoying his first Edinburgh derby win.

Hibs remain second in the Championship after a 2-0 success against champions Hearts at Easter Road.

"A lot of people forget this is a young team having to play with the expectations of a big club and that can be difficult at times," said Stubbs.

"With this group of players, they are only going to get better. I think we're in a good place."

Hibs are locked on points with Rangers but have a better goal difference by two, although the Ibrox side have played a game less.

Stubbs' side had a midweek narrow win over 10-man Dumbarton to end a three-game losing streak.

And they were rewarded for a dominant first-half performance against their city rivals when Jason Cummings touched in a knock-on from Farid El Alagui after 30 minutes.

Hearts improved after the break but Hibs sealed the win in the first minute of injury time with a cool finish from El Alagui.

"We played very well in the first half and it's important to get a goal when you're on top," Stubbs told BBC Scotland.

"Our movement was good and their understanding of the system was really good.

"Second half, they had more of it in terms of possession but we dug in and stayed in the game. We put bodies on the line when we had to."

Hibs had drawn the last two derbies after taking the lead and Stubbs was also disappointed by the recent home loss to Rangers, having beaten the Ibrox side in three previous league meetings.

"When we've played against the big teams this season, we've not necessarily performed to a level we know we can do," he explained.

"Against Rangers we didn't get on the ball way we should have. Today, when Hearts were pressing us, they showed more courage on the ball.

"When you're playing the champions you need to be brave.

"I'm delighted for the players because they have responded. They've been questioned in the last couple of weeks and they responded the way I wanted them to."

Hearts goalkeeper Neil Alexander applauds the visiting fans at full-time
Hearts goalkeeper Neil Alexander applauds the visiting fans at full-time

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson is targeting a strong finish, having suffered a second away defeat since wrapping up the title.

"We should be coming here and winning games," he told BBC Scotland.

"We started well but then fell out of the game. We didn't press the way we should, we didn't tackle.

"It's been such a fantastic season and it can't peter out. We need to win our last three games.

"We're going up to the Premiership and we need better performances than that. It needs to be a higher standard.

"Sometimes in defeat you learn a lot more about people. There are players that I thought did really well today, there's others that didn't step up to the plate.

"We can work with them over the summer, or we bring other guys in."

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