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Boyle equaliser in return as Hibs steal point in 1-1 draw with Hearts

Hearts travelled to Easter Road to take on Hibs in the Edinburgh derby.

Boyle equaliser in Hibs return as Hearts denied win in dramatic Edinburgh Derby SNS Group

Martin Boyle capped his dream return to Hibs with a goal in the last second of the first Edinburgh derby of the season to earn a 1-1 draw with Hearts.

Scotland international Lawrence Shankland, who recently returned to the Premiership following a season in Belgium, opened the scoring for the visitors in the first half.

But Boyle, a second half substitute just 48 hours after confirming his return from Saudi Arabia, made sure the sides would share the points.

The Edinburgh Festival kicked off this week but it’s doubtful that any of the 100s of shows and live performances held throughout the city will attract a crowd with the same level of passion or noise that was on display at Easter Road.

And the managers looked to provide enough entertainment to the expectant 20,000 in attendance as they named attacking line-ups and looked to take the game to their opponents amongst the carnival atmosphere in Leith.

Shankland: Opened scoring in Edinburgh Derby.SNS Group

Lee Johnson and Robbie Neilson also had able deputies at both ends of the pitch as former Scotland goalkeeping rivals David Marshall and Craig Gordon, with a combined total of 117 caps between them, captained the sides from between the sticks.

And both veterans proved their worth early in the game with saves in the first ten minutes of a frantic start at both ends.

The best chance of the first 15 minutes came when Chris Cadden fired a low cross into the box following a darting run down the right hand side.

All it needed was the slightest of touches to turn it goal bound but none of the Hibs attackers were able to get to it and the ball flashed wide.

But it was the away side that took the lead on the 22nd minute when Lawrence Shankland finished off a fine move by Barrie McKay who floated the ball into the former Dundee United man who controlled perfectly before slotting it through Marshall’s legs.

And McKay was causing all kinds of problems again just moments later when he crossed another inch perfect pass into Liam Boyce who came close to doubling the lead with a powerful header that was well saved.

The chances kept coming at both ends and the it was goal scorer who was the hero at the other end when he turned defender to clear a goal bound Kenneh cross away from Melkersen who was waiting to tap it in.

And Craig Gordon showed a glimpse of why he is still regarded at the country’s best goalkeeper as he made a trademark point blank save from a Youan header that looked like a certain goal but the 39-year-old showed he still has the quick reactions that has been a hallmark of his 20 year top flight career.

The visitors remained ahead and where growing more and more comfortable with their lead when Johnson called on returning Martin Boyle on the hour mark.

The Australia international, who only confirmed his return two days ago, came on for the last half hour in place of Josh Campbell in hope of getting Hibs back into the game.

There was a moment of controversy on the 65th minute when several items including a packet of chips were thrown at Hearts player Cochrane as he attempted to take a throw in as the atmosphere inside the stadium threatened to boil over.

Despite Boyle’s introduction the visitors still looked the most likely to add to the scoring with Marshall called in to action in a couple of occasions as the minutes ticked away.

Hibs then had a flurry of corners with around ten minutes to go but Gordon again was more than a match for every one as Hearts continued to look unfazed by the attempts to hunt an equaliser.

But the home side saved their best spell for injury time and it was nearly a dream second debut for Boyle but his shot was deflected by the post.

The Rocky Bushiri should have earned them a point but his header was guided over the bar with less than a minute left of stoppage time.

But with the last kick of the game Boyle stepped up to cap a dream return to Hibs and secure his place as a fan favourite and make it 1-1 as the crowd erupted.

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