Hibernian were second best during goalless SPL draw with Hearts, says Michael O'Neill
Michael O'Neill reckons Hibernian were second best during Thursday's turgid SPL derby with Hearts.
Last Updated: 04/01/13 1:04pm
That's the view of Northern Ireland manager and former Hibs player Michael O'Neill after he watched the Edinburgh rivals draw 0-0 at Tynecastle in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Thursday night.
Hearts striker John Sutton hit the bar with a header in stoppage time, while the Jambos had appeals for a penalty turned after midfielder Scott Robinson was seemingly felled by Hibees skipper James McPake just after the half-hour mark.
And while O'Neill was dissatisfied by the amount of attacking intent showed by both teams, he reckons visiting manager Pat Fenlon will be more content with the result, which keeps Hibs in third and Hearts ninth in the SPL standings.
"Hearts had the better of the game territorially and got the ball wider in the second half, while Hibernian didn't play well, so Pat (Fenlon) will be happier to get out with a draw," O'Neill, who played for the Easter Road outfit between 1993-96, told Sky Sports.
"Hibs are a better side on the counter-attack but they didn't get the right type of service to their front players, and while they were committed, they also got the rub of the green when it came to the penalty decision, as McPake's challenge was very rash."
O'Neill concluded: "It was a disappointing spectacle, though, as we had hoped to see more chances and more attacking play, but the players became less inclined to want to take a risk as the game wore on."
The stalemate maintains Hibernian's unbeaten record in Edinburgh derbies this season - the four-time Scottish League champions drew with Hearts at Easter Road in August, before edging their adversaries 1-0 at the same venue in the fourth round of the FA Cup in December.
But former Hearts winger Neil McCann was left frustrated by the game-plans deployed by Hibs chief Fenlon and his opposite number John McGlynn during Thursday's clash.
"I thought both managers looked happy with a point from the outset," he said. "There was no barking orders to get the ball into midfield and asking their players to make something happen.
"The ball was getting banged up to Leigh Griffiths (Hibs) and coming straight back, or getting banged up to Sutton (Hearts) and coming straight back; it wasn't good enough."