Despite dominating possession, Hibs had to settle for one point against city rivals Hearts in a hard fought encounter at Easter Road.

Andrew Driver gave the Gorgie men the lead against the run of play on 28 minutes after an uncharacteristic mistake from new signing Alan Maybury, but striker Leigh Griffiths equalised just before half time to secure a valuable point.

Pat Fenlon made two changes from the team who lost at Tannadice, with new signings Gary Deegan and Alan Maybury in the starting line-up, replacing Ivan Sproule and David Stephens.

Maybury started in the left back position, allowing Paul Hanlon to return to his preferred slot in the centre of the defence.

The Hearts fans arrived in numbers selling out the away end, and they were determined to remind their neighbours about the last time the teams met in the Scottish Cup Final in May. A large maroon and white banner with the date 19 May 2012 was passed across the Dunbar End, and the taunting started well before kick-off. Only four of the Hibs team started that day, highlighting the changes made by Pat Fenlon during the summer.

Both teams started brightly, with David Templeton looking dangerous, beating Tim Clancy on the right wing before his shot was well saved by Ben Williams. Hearts youngster Kevin McHattie was lucky to escape a booking for a foul on David Wotherspoon in front of the dug-out as the game progressed at a frantic pace.

Ben Williams did well to save a Darren Barr log range shot, and John Sutton was also fortunate to avoid a yellow card after fouling Paul Hanlon who needed treatment after the clash.

Finally, after eighteen minutes, referee Willie Column lost his patience and the first name in his book was Hibs new signing Gary Deegan, but the former Coventry midfielder could have few complaints after his blatant trip on Templeton.

Two minutes later, Templeton took off on another hazy run, beating three Hibs players before being brought down outside the penalty box. After the foul had been given, Templeton kicked McPake in the ribs, but unbelievably the referee missed it and no action was taken, despite howls of protests from the Hibs supporters.

Hibs then started to dominate possession with Deegan controlling midfield alongside Paul Cairney, before Hearts opened the scoring against the run of play. John Sutton won a header which landed between Maybury and Williams. Maybury hesitated before deciding to head the ball back to the keeper, but Hearts winger Driver intercepted it and slotted the ball into the net.

Zaliukas then had a long range shot which went narrowly past the post, before Hibs fought back with a Cairney effort which was blocked by a defender inside the box.

On 34 minutes, Barr became the second name in the referee’s book after a foul on Maybury, and four minutes later, Leigh Griffiths almost equalised when he fired a thunderbolt shot which rebounded back off the upright.

This galvanised the Hibs fans who roared encouragement to their heroes, and Maybury did well to stop Driver in the box just before Hibs equalised. David Wotherspoon did well to control a long diagonal pass, before sliding the ball to the unmarked Griffiths just inside the Hearts box. Jamie MacDonald tried to narrow the angle, but Griffiths calmly toe poked the ball between the keepers legs into the back of the net.

The second half started where the first half left off, with play raging from end to end. Sutton won a header at the back post which McPake did well to clear, before Griffiths almost broke clear from the half way line, but his shot was blocked. Four minutes into the second half, Andy Webster was booked after scything down Eoin Doyle who reacted angrily.

Jorge Claros replaced Lewis Stevenson as Hibs continued to look the more likely team to score. Clancy’s long throws were causing the Hearts defenders problems and McPake twice went close with headers.

No quarter was being given by either team and Paul Cairney was physically sick in the centre circle.

Just after the hour mark, Griffiths did well to turn a Hearts defender in the box, but the striker mishit his shot which went past the post.

Teenager Ross Caldwell replaced Doyle as Hibs looked for a winner, and the youngster was immediately in the action when he clashed with Zaliukas resulting in the Hearts captain falling over the advertising boards. He was then booked for gesturing to the Hibs fans in the Famous Five Stand.

On 72 minutes, Griffiths beat two Hearts players bit was tackled before he could shoot and required treatment. He was replaced by Danny Handling and left the field to a deserved standing ovation.

While the Hibs midfield were winning the 50-50 balls, Hearts always looked dangerous on the break and Hanlon did well to stop Arvydas Novikovas with a last ditch tackle in the penalty box.

James McPake won the man of the match award, but Deegan, Cairney and Griffiths were also contenders.

Hibs: Williams, Clancy, McPake, Hanlon, Maybury, Cairney, Stevenson, Deegan, Wotherspoon, Doyle, Griffiths. Subs: Antell, Caldwell, O’Hanlon, Stanton, Sproule, Claros Handling.

Hearts:  MacDonald, McHattie, Webster, McGowan, Barr, Templeton, Driver, Zaliukas, Patterson, Robinson, Sutton. Subs: Rigders, McGowan, Taouill, Grainger, Novikovas, Smith, Carrick

Attendance 12887

Photographs by www.jcmackintosh.co.uk