Pleasure and pain for Hearts’ derby hero Steven Naismith
PUBLISHED: 22:39 09 May 2018 | UPDATED: 22:57 09 May 2018
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Steven Naismith headed the winner for Hearts in Wednesday’s 2-1 Edinburgh derby triumph against Hibernian, in what could be the final game of his loan stint after being cited for a challenge on Celtic’s Scott Brown.
Naismith was free to play in a fiery clash at Tynecastle - in which he also set up former Norwich striker Kyle Lafferty to open the scoring - despite being charged by the Scottish FA earlier in the day for a lunging tackle that went unpunished on Bhoys’ captain Brown in Saturday’s 3-1 Scottish Premiership defeat.
The 31-year-old Scotland international potentially faces a two-match ban, with a fast-track panel scheduled to hear the case on Friday prior to the final league game of the season.
Naismith - who recently admitted he would welcome a return to Edinburgh next season if he is not part of Daniel Farke’s plans at Carrow Road for the final year of his Canaries’ contract - put disciplinary issues to one side with a key role in Hearts’ win.
Hibs made the brighter start with Brandon Barker looking the player likeliest to make a breakthrough. The winger had one shot blocked after a piercing run and then forced a decent stop from Jon McLaughlin.
The simmering derby tension boiled over when Lafferty went in hard and late on Lewis Stevenson, sparking a bout of pushing and a yellow card for the Northern Ireland international.
Hearts channelled their aggression well and went ahead in the 26th minute when Lafferty got the better of Stevenson to get on the end of Naismith’s through ball. The striker poked the ball beyond Ofir Marciano into the corner of the net from 10 yards.
Lafferty celebrated his 19th goal of the season in front of the visiting fans and signalled he was unconcerned by the ensuing missiles.
Hibs made the perfect start to the second half as Stevenson atoned for his part in the opener by robbing both Michael Smith and Joaquim Adao before being tripped by the latter. Kamberi sent McLaughlin the wrong way from the 48th-minute spot-kick.
But the hosts went back in front when Naismith glanced a header home from Cochrane’s free-kick.