Hibernian head coach Paul Heckingbottom claimed he was sworn at by the fourth official during the Edinburgh derby and would have “knocked his teeth out” if it had happened elsewhere.

Heckingbottom was held back by goalkeeping coach Alan Combe after rushing towards fourth official Gavin Duncan after being frustrated by a first-half decision from referee Craig Thomson not to pull back play for a Hibs free-kick following an advantage rule.

When asked why he was so animated, he told BBC Radio Scotland: “It didn’t help getting sworn at by the fourth official, I’d have knocked his teeth out if it was anywhere else. So that was one of the reasons.”

Heckingbottom’s frustration was exacerbated by the loss of an 84th-minute equaliser as Uche Ikpeazu slotted home to make it 1-1 and prevent Hearts falling six points behind their city rivals in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Christophe Berra’s own goal had given Hibs the lead 15 minutes earlier after Marc McNulty had missed a penalty for the home team.

Heckingbottom, who refused to talk about the fourth official during his post-match media conference, said: “We spoke after the game about one thing in particular we really need to get better at, but sometimes you don’t get what you deserve.

“But you cannot begrudge it. If you are not clinical at one end and there is only one goal in it, it doesn’t matter who you are playing, teams are going to get chances, they will be dangerous. So you are playing a dicey game if you try to hold on to one goal.

“The second half was really good and if you watch the goal go in, there was a mentality shift, which is what we don’t want. We want to keep going, being positive. We didn’t, we allowed them to get a bit of momentum.”

Hearts manager Craig Levein was delighted for Ikpeazu to net after earlier giving away the penalty with a clumsy attempt to clear.

Levein said: “I think he gets a fair degree of criticism because he is different. The way he plays is different from a lot of players.

“He is quite a strong character and he just keeps going. He has got belief in himself, which is really important. He thrives on scoring. He feels that’s the thing he is always going to be judged on.

“I don’t see it quite as simply as that, but it’s good for him to get eight goals after missing a long period of the season through injury.”

Defender John Souttar also redeemed himself after a sloppy first-half display when he lost possession numerous times.

Levein said: “I asked him at half-time if he had John Souttar’s number. All credit to him, he came out in the second half and did the basics properly. He was really, really good in the second half.

“For me, that’s one thing that younger players need to experience to learn.

“Sometimes you don’t feel great when you’re on the field in big matches and it’s easy to succumb to the thought you are feeling ill or tired and that things are happening to you that you have no control over.

“He started the game poorly, things got worse for him, but he pulled himself together at half-time and got back to doing the things he does well. It’s another lesson for John and he coped admirably.”

Levein added: “It was probably the most open Edinburgh derby I have been involved in for a while. It seemed to go end-to-end for almost the whole match.

“I feel good about coming from behind and getting a point.”


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