Hibernian 1-2 Heart of Midlothian
Callum Paterson scored a first-half headed double as Hearts beat Hibernian to heighten the hosts' fears of facing a Premiership relegation play-off.
In an error-strewn opening 45 minutes, Paterson provided two moments of quality in three minutes to hand relegated Hearts the initiative.
Jordon Forster gave Hibs hope in the second half with a powerful header.
But Terry Butcher's side could not find a leveller and remain just one point above the play-off spot.
A minute's applause for politician Margo MacDonald and former Rangers, Hearts and Scotland star Sandy Jardine preceded kick-off.
When the action started, nerves seemed to get the better of both sides.
The ball took a battering in the early stages and Kevin Thomson's wild effort from distance was typical of the lack of quality on show.
Neither set of players was having much joy when it came to finding someone wearing the same jersey.
The game was crying out for someone to take the initiative and Sam Stanton stepped up with a neat lob to get himself beyond the Hearts back line, but there was no-one in the six-yard box to apply a finish to his dangerous delivery.
That seemed to give the home side self-belief and Liam Craig's cross from the left was met by Jason Cummings, but his header dropped just wide.
Cummings tried his luck with a left-foot shot from 35 yards but MacDonald gathered at the second attempt.
Stanton again looked to threaten with an industrious break forward but Scott Robertson was unable to gather on the edge of the area.
Against the run of play, the visitors went up the park and scored from a corner. Billy King delivered and Paterson's downward header bounced beyond the reach of Ben Williams for Hearts' 500th derby goal.
And the roof looked like caving in on Hibs a couple of minutes later. Kevin McHattie curled a free-kick into the area and Paterson rose again to nod home.
It was all-too much for some home fans, who headed for the exit doors.
Hibs made a brighter start to the second half, with Alex Harris seeing a shot deflected past the post, and minutes later Forster's header was cleared off the line.
Thomson then drove an effort into the side netting, after a nice drop of the shoulder to create some space on the edge of the area.
McHattie warmed the hands of Hibs goalkeeper Williams with a fierce drive from distance in Hearts' first serious foray forward of the half.
Hearts goalkeeper MacDonald made a decent low stop from a Craig free-kick, after Scott Robinson had downed Cummings on the edge of the area.
And, in the 69th minute, the hosts grabbed a foothold. Thomson's quick free-kick caught the visitors out and Ryan McGivern eventually delivered into the area, where Forster was perfectly placed to power home a header.
As Hibs battled for a leveller, Thomson picked out substitute Duncan Watmore with a perfect pass but Dylan McGowan was on hand to snuff out the danger.
Home substitute James Collins passed up a glorious chance to square it with five minutes left. Hearts failed to clear their lines and the ball cannoned into Collins' path, but the striker missed his kick completely from a few yards out.
Butcher's side poured forward in the closing stages but could have been caught at the other end. Ryan Stevenson found himself through on goal but his lob dropped the wrong side of an upright.
Hibs continued to search for the equaliser as the clocked ticked down but could not find the quality, leaving themselves in serious danger of facing a two-legged play-off to save their top-flight status.
- 18MayburyBooked at 71mins
- 3McGivernBooked at 26mins
- 8RobertsonBooked at 51minsSubstituted forWatmoreat 67'minutes
- 35CummingsSubstituted forCollinsat 72'minutes
- 17Tudur Jones
- 19KingSubstituted forWalkerat 82'minutes
- 8RobinsonBooked at 58mins
- 18CarrickSubstituted forMcKayat 88'minutes
- 28NicholsonSubstituted forSmithat 57'minutes
- Bobby Madden
- Shots on Target