Hibernian 0-0 Hearts

By Stevie MillerBBC Sport Scotland

A refereeing error prevented Hibernian from claiming their first league derby win over Hearts since 2009.

Both sides spurned chances in a first-half which raged rather than flowed.

In the second period Andy Webster forced Hibs keeper Ben Williams into a fine save from a fantastic volley.

However, the key moment in the game came when Leigh Griffiths' free-kick hit the underside of the bar and bounced clearly over the line, but no goal was given by referee Euan Norris.

The big news pre-match was that midfielder Kevin Thomson had rejoined Hibernian and was eligible to play, but he had to make do with a place on the bench.

After a frenetic opening spell it was Hearts who carved out the first shooting opportunity, with John Sutton firing off a low effort which was gathered by Williams.

Hearts were looking the more dangerous of the two sides early on, with English striker Michael Ngoo causing the Hibs defence problems with his strength and running.

And Ngoo went close with a shot through the legs of Hibs captain James McPake which deflected just past the post.

From the subsequent corner, Sutton's goalbound header was accidentally blocked by Ngoo allowing Lewis Stevenson to clear.

Hibs had offered little in attack thus far, but Matt Done latched on to a Ryan McGivern flicked header. However, under pressure from Fraser Mullen, his weak shot was smothered.

The pendulum had swung the other way and Tom Taiwo picked out Scott Robertson in the Hearts box, but keeper Jamie MacDonald pulled off a fine save.

It was the visitors though who had the last - and perhaps best - chance of the first-half as Danny Wilson headed Arvydas Novikovas' free-kick just wide from four yards.

A quiet opening to the second-half saw limited chances for either side, with Ngoo and Ryan Stevenson both putting shots well off target.

But then Webster produced a piece of skill unheard-of for Scottish centre-halves as he flicked the ball up, spun and volleyed from the edge of the box, only to see Williams parry his effort.

Hearts substitute Brad McKay, on for Mullen, flighted a free-kick to Ngoo on the penalty spot, but the young striker took a touch rather than shooting first time, allowing Stevenson to clear.

Callum Tapping then went down in the box as he chased for a ball with Alan Maybury, but referee Norris was uninterested in his vociferous penalty appeals.

Griffiths, overlooked by Scotland manager Gordon Strachan for his squad to face Wales, had had a largely anonymous afternoon, but a mis-hit header by Wilson finally gave him an opportunity in front of goal.

However, the striker, who has been prolific this season, could only snatch at the ball and his volley went over.

Then came the game's moment of controversy as Griffiths lashed a tremendous free-kick from 25 yards, which beat MacDonald, hit the underside of the bar and bounced at least a few feet over the line.

However, neither referee Norris or assistant referee awarded a goal and Webster headed the ball over.

Thomson then made his Hibs return, coming on for Taiwo, but couldn't find a breakthrough as the game ended goalless, much to the consternation of the home fans.

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