Hibernian’s debutant goalkeeper Kevin Dabrowski pulled off three big second-half saves to deny Hearts attacker Ellis Simms and ensure the second Edinburgh derby of the season ended goalless.
The 23-year-old Pole, who joined the Easter Road club five years ago, was finally handed his first competitive appearance following an injury to regular number one Matt Macey. And he made an important contribution to help his team claim a point from a game in which Hibs had the better of the first half and Hearts were on top in the second period.
Hibs manager Shaun Maloney made five changes to the side that lost 3-2 to Livingston at the weekend, as Dabrowski, Josh Doig, Rocky Bushiri, Joe Newell and Chris Mueller replaced Macey, Demetri Mitchell, Paul McGinn, Josh Campbell and Ewan Henderson.
There were two changes to the Hearts side that started the 2-0 home win over Motherwell, with Toby Sibbick – in for his first start since joining from Barnsley last week – and Barrie McKay replacing John Souttar and Gary Mackay-Steven.
The visitors had the first chance after six minutes when Beni Baningime chipped a ball over the top for Cammy Devlin, but the Australian midfielder couldn’t get his body shape right and hooked his effort well wide.
Hibs’ first opening came in the 10th minute when Mueller saw a shot from just inside the box well blocked by Stephen Kingsley after good work by Kevin Nisbet to set him up.
The hosts went agonisingly close three minutes later when Nisbet sent a close-range effort against the outside of the post after Doig’s header from a Newell free-kick broke to him inside the six-yard box.
Hibs thought they had taken the lead in the 17th minute when the ball came off Hearts defender Kingsley from a set-piece and ended up in the net but the linesman’s flag was up for offside in the build-up.
The hosts’ tails were up and Christian Doidge got himself free in the 32nd minute after Sibbick’s slack pass was intercepted by Newell, but the English defender did well to get back and make a vital challenge just as the Welsh striker was about to pull the trigger.
Hearts threatened twice in the closing moments of the first half, with Liam Boyce seeing a first-time shot from the angle of the box pushed out by Dabrowski before Devlin fizzed a half volley inches over the bar from the edge of the area.
The visitors had a great chance six minutes after the break when McKay released Simms with a lovely pass but Dabrowski made an excellent save to deny the on-loan Everton striker.
The goalkeeper pulled off another couple of impressive saves to thwart Simms as Hearts enjoyed the bulk of the second-half pressure.
Hibs almost won it in the 90th minute when substitute Campbell saw a shot blocked on the line by Sibbick.