Edinburgh derby talking points: Aaron Hickey shines, Paul Heckingbottom under pressure

Aaron Hickey was the Hearts hero as his late goal secured a 2-1 win in the Edinburgh derby

Aaron Hickey celebrates for Hearts
Image: Aaron Hickey celebrates for Hearts

From Aaron Hickey's impressive display to the Hibernian fans calling for Paul Heckingbottom's exit, here are the biggest talking points from the Edinburgh derby...

Aaron Hickey shines in derby debut

What a way for the 17-year-old to mark his Edinburgh derby debut. There was an element of luck about his first Hearts goal as it took a deflection off of Josh Vela's outstretched leg, but the youngster was good value for his winner. He defended resolutely, was keen to get forward and offer an outlet out wide, refused to hide when his team went behind and stood up to the frantic nature of the second half in just his 12th senior appearance for the Tynecastle side.

Newspaper reports suggest Manchester City have been monitoring his development - could he add to Scotland's growing list of impressive left-backs? He has every chance based on this showing.

Aaron Hickey celebrates with Craig Levein
Image: Aaron Hickey celebrates with Craig Levein

Heckingbottom faces questions

Hibs have won once in the league since April 6 - a victory over Hearts at Tynecastle - which is surprising given how well Paul Heckingbottom's reign in Leith started. Hibs went 10 games without losing to finish in the top six after his appointment in February.

However, there were angry protests outside Easter Road after the game on Sunday as Heckingbottom's side slumped to 11th in the Premiership table.

Hibernian manager Paul Heckingbottom insists it is business as usual despite coming under increasing Easter Road pressure 0:29
Paul Heckingbottom insists he is not considering his future as Hibernian boss, despite a 2-1 defeat at home to Hearts piling the pressure on at Easter Road

The derby almost felt like a make-or-break fixture for Heckingbottom and counterpart Craig Levein given how poorly both sides had started the season. Levein has earned at least some temporary respite but will Hibernian stand by their man?

Hibs were poor in the first half here, going long into Hearts centre-backs on numerous occasions, yielding little success, and they failed to take advantage of their momentum following Stevie Mallan's fantastic opener after the interval. The nature of the defeat, in front of their own fans, leaves Heckingbottom facing even more questions over his future.

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Levein passes derby test

Hearts fans protested against Levein in their numbers outside Tynecastle last week but the Hearts boss played a blinder in the derby.

Starting with three at the back certainly stunted the home side, with Christophe Berra and Craig Halkett mopping up long balls over the top, but Levein was quick to act when his side did go behind.

3:04
Hearts manager Craig Levein says he's optimistic about the future after seeing his side come from behind to beat rivals Hibernian 2-1 in the Edinburgh derby

Andy Irving and Callum Morrison were introduced as Hearts pushed further up the pitch and became more aggressive going forward through the power of Uche Ikpeazu and the trickery of Ryotaro Meshino.

Levein essentially turned the game into an end-to-end slugfest with this aggression straight after the opener, with Hearts eventually enjoying a sustained period of pressure as they took the game by the scruff of the neck. Hibs, who have now shipped 15 goals in six games, could not stand up to it.

Where was Scott Allan?

Scott Allan and Loic Damour in action during the Ladbrokes Premiership match between Hibs and Hearts
Image: Scott Allan and Loic Damour in action during the Ladbrokes Premiership match between Hibs and Hearts

A genuine match-winner, Scott Allan looked like Hibs' biggest threat going forward when the hosts broke out from the back but those moments proved to be more fleeting than the home fans would have liked.

There is an argument among the Easter Road faithful that Heckingbottom is not getting the best out of Allan and it could be said that was the case again here. Indeed, fans reacted angrily after the Hibs boss substituted Allan in a recent draw with St Johnstone, with his side then conceding a late equaliser.

Allan was not necessarily bad against Hearts, when he was on the ball he looked dangerous, he just was not in the game enough to be the decisive influence he clearly can be and this is a problem Hibs need to solve going forward.

Hibs' recruitment problems?

Hearts' Craig Halkett and Josh Vela during the Premiership match between Hibs and Hearts at Easter Road
Image: Hearts' Craig Halkett and Josh Vela collide during the Premiership match between Hibs and Hearts at Easter Road

Paul Heckingbottom brought in 10 new players over the summer as he looked to put his stamp on the Hibs squad but the vast majority have endured frustrating starts to their careers in Leith.

Christian Doidge has started just two league games so far and was again on the bench at Easter Road on Sunday, despite arriving for a sizeable fee from Forest Green in the summer. Free transfers from England Joe Newell, Adam Jackson and Tom James were unused substitutes while fellow summer recruits Josh Vela and Melker Hallberg failed to make a real impact on the game.

Chris Maxwell was a surprise inclusion in goal for his first Premiership start, Jason Naismith made his derby debut while Heckingbottom perhaps could have introduced Rangers loanee Glenn Middleton earlier given his lively display in the closing stages.

Hibs manager Paul Heckingbottom is under pressure
Image: Hibs manager Paul Heckingbottom is under pressure

Before the game Sky Sports pundit Kris Boyd questioned those summer signings.

"The recruitment over the summer has been very, very disappointing. That's where I think a lot of Hibs fans are asking the question of Paul Heckingbottom. When you bring players to the football club they have got to be better than what is already there and that has not been the case when you see the starting line-up today.

"The majority of those signings are on the bench and especially when you spend the money that you spend on a striker [Doidge] who cannot make the starting line-up again, which is disappointing from the Hibs point of view when they are spending money."

A springboard for Hearts?

Hearts' Uche Ikpeazu celebrates his equaliser
Image: Hearts' Uche Ikpeazu celebrates his equaliser

Defeat at Easter Road would have been devastating for Hearts and possibly for Levein's tenure as manager given not only their poor start to the season but also their disappointing end to the last campaign, with a Scottish Cup final appearance masking frustrating form in the league.

Victory over Hibernian moved Hearts off the bottom of the league, up to eighth, and they have a chance to book a League Cup semi-final spot at Hampden if they can beat Aberdeen at Tynecastle on Wednesday before they have the chance to follow that up with another positive result at St Mirren next weekend.

After the game Levein acknowledged that he and Hearts had a long way to go after picking up their first win of the campaign, but they have an opportunity to build on this. Positive results in the next week could put a markedly different spin on their start to the season.

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