Jim Jefferies proud of depleted Hearts

Jim Jefferies congratulates Hearts defender Craig Thomson
Jefferies (left) said his players were determined to maintain their derby run

Hearts manager Jim Jefferies was proud of his players for overcoming absences to draw 2-2 with Hibernian.

"When you consider the number of players I had out and the re-jig we had to do, it speaks volumes for the players' attitude as a squad," he said.

Jefferies described the performances of defender Andy Webster and goalscorer Stephen Elliott as "immense".

Hearts came from behind despite being reduced to 10 men and Jefferies said: "I am unbelieveably proud of them."

Ryan Stevenson gave Hearts the lead, but Hibs equalised from Liam Miller's penalty after Marius Zaliukas was sent off for a foul on Akpo Sodje.

"They were by far the better team in the opening half hour," Jefferies said of his team, which was minus several players through injury and suspension.

"They should have been two, three up and then Hibs get a break with the needless penalty, because it was going through to the goalkeeper, but Marius has pulled him down and got send off.

"It gives Hibs a lift and they score from the penalty and we know it is going to be tough.

"We said, keep calm, we are two banks of four and have got to pick ourselves up a wee bit in terms of effort.

"It was about being resilient and hopefully we will get a chance."

Jefferies had no complaints about the penalty given by referee Iain Brines.

"I don't think there was any need for Marius to block him," said Hearts' manager. "I think he thought he had lost the ball and the boy was going to score.

"I was more angry when he gave a foul to Hibs in the last couple of minutes because we broke away with the ball and I could not see where the foul was.

"And then they got a 30-yard strike that goes a mile over the bar and he gives a corner.

"We didn't have 11 against 10, we had 12 against 10 in the last five minutes."

Jefferies said his players were keen to stretch their six-game unbeaten run against their city rivals.

"They did a lot of talking in the papers this week about this being their chance," he said of the Hibs camp.

"We thought we would just let them carry on as they had to do it on the pitch."

Ricardo Vaz Te looked to have given Hibs that victory with 10 minutes remaining, but Elliott equalised.

Jefferies picked out Elliott, defender Webster, winger Andrew Driver, who was making a rare start after his injury problems, and Ryan McGowan, the defender who had recently been on loan to Partick Thistle and came off the bench, for special praise.

"Webster was outsanding for us, I thought he was immense and Andrew Driver worked his socks off despite still being well short of fitness," added the Hearts boss.

"Stephen Elliott was just immense when I had to take him out of the striking role to play on the wide right to cover the two banks of four and the wee man has come up with the goal where he is always sniffing about the six-yard box."

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