Hearts manager Robbie Neilson could not hide his delight as Hearts thumped their Edinburgh rivals to secure third spot in the cinch Premiership with five games left to play.

Hibs took an early lead through Drey Wright as Hearts failed to impose themselves on their rivals but got the equaliser at a crucial moment in first half stoppage time. 

The second half was a different game altogether and Hearts, as the league table suggested, showed they were by far the superior side. 

Stephen Kingsley’s goal two minutes into the second half changed the game completely and with the Tynecastle crowd now firmly behind them, Hibs’ hopes of a comeback were slim. 

Andy Halliday added his second and Hearts’ third 13 minutes into the second half, as many Hibs fans at this point headed for the exits.

Now attention turns to the Scottish Cup Semi-Final at Hampden next Saturday and what a marker Hearts put Hearts have put down with this convincing 3-1 victory.

“I was delighted with the result,” said Neilson.

“It’s a derby, you want to win it. It’s really important that with a full house here today we win the game. Sometimes it is not about the performance. 

“Hibs started the game better. They got the goal, pressed us, made it difficult and we didn’t settle into the game. It wasn’t until probably 25/30 minutes we started to settle down and play. Once that happened we took a bit of control, created chances, and thankfully got the goal just before half-time. I think it would have been different if we went in 1-0 down.”

Andy Halliday was taking a fair amount of stick from the Hibs fans in the Roseburn Stand, but his manager explained he thrives off that sort of atmosphere, and confirmed despite his early exit, there is no injury concerns ahead of the Hampden encounter.

“He is fine. He got a knock last week and it is on the same spot so he could probably have gone on, but we just felt at that stage it was better getting him off and start thinking about next week.

“Andy plays his best when he is under pressure, getting stick from the opposition because he can handle it, thrives off it. 

“Andy, when we had the season with no fans, didn’t like it because he needs that so what he does is he takes the ball tries things. He’ll give it away like we all do but he’ll keep getting on the ball. I’m delighted for him because it has been a good performance.”

Hearts fans have already snapped up over 20,000 briefs and Neilson confirmed the club are intending to ask for even more tickets than the additional 1,000 they were already given. 

Nevertheless, he added today’s result was only 10% of the job completed and insisted the result won’t have a psychological impact on the next meeting.

“I don’t think it gives a lot. It’s a derby. The derby can be difficult. I don’t think there has ever been a back-to-back derby like this. The biggest focus for us has always been the Scottish Cup one but what the key had to be was that we had to make sure the players’ focus was on this one. 

“Today, ten per cent of the job is done. The other 90 per cent [still to come]. The Scottish Cup allows us to get to a final, win a derby and guarantee European group stage football. So that game’s massive.

“I’m delighted we’ve sold out for next week. We’re asking for more and if we sell them we’ll go back and ask for more. We’ve got a brilliant fanbase here, we’re selling out, we’ve got the Foundation, we’ve got the benefactors, we’re going to Hampden next week and we want as many people there as we can get.”