ANYONE who was present at the Edinburgh derby on Saturday couldn’t help but be impressed by the spectacle. With the Glasgow clubs doing their utmost to stymie the tribal atmosphere that made Old Firm day such spectacular – if often, car crash – viewing with their continuing aversion to opposition supporters in their grounds, this was a city derby done right.

Hibs fans occupied the entire Roseburn Stand behind the goal to the right of the Main Stand and made a right old racket throughout. The Hearts fans packed into the other three quarters of Tynecastle’s steep slopes responded in kind.

It made for a crackling atmosphere that was always just teetering on the edge of spilling over, that unpredictable element of danger giving the contest an edge that bled onto the pitch and made for engrossing viewing.

READ MORE: Hibs' Lee Johnson blasts 'disrespectful' Hearts boss Steven Naismith

Aside from the goal apiece for either side - scored by Yutaro Oda for Hearts before Kevin Nisbet’s free-kick levelled things up – we had a red card for home defender Alex Cochrane as part of the dramatic VAR delay that immediately preceded Nisbet’s goal, players being carted off injured every ten minutes or so, a hot water bottle of all things being thrown at Hibs manager Lee Johnson from behind the Hearts dugout and a full-scale Royal Rumble on the pitch at the end as players and staff from both camps showed their distaste for the other.

The hot water bottle hoodlum appeared to be back-up goalkeeper Ross Stewart, who was clearly taking his accustomed role as a bench warmer pretty seriously. It was to be the last time he would be involved in a Hearts matchday squad, and he was seemingly determined to be remembered for his contribution to the club one way or the other.

On the other side, Hibs had their own keyed up bystander in the shape of the injured CJ Egan-Riley. He had already had a pop at the ambulance staff stationed behind him between the dugout and the press box for their rather relaxed attitude to getting onto the pitch to attend to his stricken teammate Chris Cadden, and Stewart’s antics didn’t escape his attention either.

The pair were at the centre of the handbag hullabaloo at the end, with Stewart knocking Egan-Riley’s cap from his head to elicit a furious response from the on-loan Burnley man. Very likely, he too won’t be involved in this fixture next season, showing this rivalry’s propensity for getting under the skin of even those involved in it only transiently.

But we weren’t finished there, either. Hibs manager Johnson is usually great value in his post-match interviews, and he didn’t disappoint. He laid out in no uncertain terms that he did not like counterpart Naismith, and even accused him of being disrespectful of predecessor Robbie Neilson with his comments since taking over the role on a temporary basis.

Naismith then had to refute Johnson’s suggestion that he was a rookie upstart, pointing to his extensive experience as a player and the time he has spent working under some of Scotland’s top managers of the last 20 years, and accusing Johnson of ‘fishing’.

READ MORE: Hearts vs Hibs ends in mass brawl as both dugouts clash in on-field bust-up

It was all good fun, and it made the decision not to televise it all the more disappointing. But there was also no escaping that the vast majority of what made the spectacle at Tynecastle so engrossing and exciting had nothing at all to do with the football that was played.

It should also be noted that the wild celebrations around three-quarters of the ground that greeted the final whistle were, after all, hailing a fourth-place finish, a position that just a few short months ago would have been considered a failure for Hearts.

The fact that an Aberdeen side who were engulfed in crisis and were hit for six by Hibs at Easter Road in late January were still able to seize third place ahead of both of these clubs tells you everything you need to know about the mediocrity of their respective seasons.

So, while the overall experience of the Edinburgh derby may well be rivalling or even surpassing that of the Glasgow variety now, there was sadly very little on show on the pitch to suggest either of these clubs will be troubling the big two any time soon.

The Hearts board must now decide whether or not Naismith’s seven match audition has landed him the manager’s role on a permanent basis. He opened with a loss to Hibs, but has only lost to Celtic since. There was a thumping of Ross County, a win over Aberdeen, as well as draws at Ibrox and away to St Mirren, one of the country’s most difficult venues this season.

Whatever way you slice it, coming off the back of the six consecutive defeats that cost Neilson his job, that record represents a steadying of the ship, and he will feel he has done enough to merit a crack at it next season.

There are many among the Hearts support though who – as much as they might not like to admit they agree with Hibs manager Johnson – have concerns about his lack of experience, particularly as they will not settle for another season of underachievement.

As for Johnson, that word again – mediocrity – probably sums up his first season at Hibs. His job came under scrutiny on more than one occasion, but he managed to pull enough results out at the right times to see out the campaign.

He acknowledges himself that in his second season in Scotland, Hibs need to be a more serious proposition in the shake-up for third place.

Off the pitch though, at least, the Edinburgh derby may now be the best showcase of an old-fashioned rivalry in the country.