Defender Andy Webster praised Hearts' exceptional character following the 3-1 Edinburgh derby victory which leaves Hibernian in a desperate fight to avoid relegation from the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.
Graham Stack saved Ian Black's penalty after 43 minutes before the visitors took the lead after 58 minutes through Ryan McGowan. Marius Zaliukas turned the ball into his own net as Hibs equalised immediately but Webster restored the visitors' lead after 83 minutes and substitute Rudi Skacel netted a third in the dying moments.
Hearts now have four wins from 11 matches since their first-team squad first suffered delayed payment of wages and Webster told Sky Sports 1: "Circumstances are difficult but when the boys step out on the pitch it gives them that freedom to go and express themselves and I think we've shown in the last two or three weeks that we've definitely picked up and we're playing exceptionally well."
December's pay remains outstanding - the third straight month of delayed wages - and now the January transfer window is open, Hearts were keen to impress.
But Webster insisted there was a collective desire to improve, denying the players had considered withdrawing their labour.
He said: "No definitely not, I don't think that's the case whatsoever. As you've seen today and as has been the case for the last few weeks, the boys are working extremely hard for each other and putting in the effort and reaping the rewards."
Television replays suggested Hearts were fortunate with two decisions which went their way.
McGowan's opener came from Webster's header, when Stephen Elliott appeared to obstruct Stack while standing in an offside position. A McGowan long throw then led to Webster's goal, despite the full-back having been involved in an altercation with Ivan Sproule where he appeared to barge the Hibs winger over with a head to the chest.
Hibs boss Pat Fenlon was frustrated by the decision, but admitted Hibs should have done better defensively, saying: "I don't advocate players getting sent off, but if you go by the letter of the law it's a red card.
"But we've got to deal with the throw-in, it doesn't matter where he should've been, he was on the pitch."
- Sports & Recreation
- Sports & Recreation/Soccer