Keep It Steady

Hearts hold off 10-man Hibs to book third Scottish Cup final spot in four years

The Tynecastle side scored a 2-1 win at Hampden Park.

HEARTS HELD OFF 10-man Hibernian in a 2-1 win at Hampden Park to go through to their third Scottish Cup final in four years.

Terrific strikes from forward Ellis Simms and defender Stephen Kingsley propelled the Jambos into a two-goal lead inside 21 minutes, before Hibs midfielder Chris Cadden immediately reduced the deficit.

In a feisty and occasionally tetchy encounter, Hibs midfielder Joe Newell was sent off in the 64th minute by referee John Beaton for picking up the second of two yellow cards for a foul on Peter Haring.

The Easter Road men gave it their all but the Tynecastle side, who had beat their Edinburgh rivals 3-1 in the cinch Premiership last week, again emerged victors.

Hearts lost to Celtic in both the 2019 and 2020 finals and they will face either the Hoops or Rangers who play in the other semi-final on Sunday, a game which will no doubt bring its own drama.

After the chastening derby defeat last week, Hibs boss Shaun Maloney made five changes with Ryan Porteous returning from suspension and James Scott, Ewan Henderson, Lewis Stevenson and the fit-again Paul McGinn back in the team.

An unchanged Hearts were unchanged side had to withstand some early Hibs pressure with an early shout for an Easter Road penalty when the ball struck the top of Jambos defender Kingsley’s arm ignored by referee Beaton, judging it to be tight to his side.

Hearts worked their way slowly into the game and took the lead in the 16th minute after Hibs had conceded possession in midfield.

Barrie McKay quickly played forward to Simms and the 21-year-old on-loan Everton attacker wasted no time in arrowing a shot from 20 yards past keeper Matt Macey.

The second goal five minutes later was even better and came after Hearts won a free-kick 35 yards from goal.

Kingsley played the ball to Liam Boyce who laid it back off and he curled a wonderful shot high past the helpless Macey.

It looked ominous for the Leith side but just over a minute later, Cadden pulled a goal back at the second attempt from 14 yards, after his first shot from Lewis Stevenson’s cut-back was blocked.

Tynecastle midfielder Andy Halliday, who shrugged off a knock to start, limped off in the 39th minute to be replaced by Aaron McEneff.

Just before the break Boyce missed a great chance when he found himself with only Macey to beat after getting the break of the ball, slipping his shot past the far post.

Hearts suffered a blow early in the second half when, following a tackle from Hibs attacker James Scott, defender Craig Halkett had to be taken off the field in a stretcher, replaced by Taylor Moore.

As Hearts reorganised, Hibs pressed for the leveller.

In the 54th minute Hearts keeper Craig Gordon tipped Porteous’ header from a Henderson corner on to the post and gratefully gathered the rebound.

However, Hibs’ momentum was halted when Newell, booked early in the first half for a foul on McKay, was sent off for picking up a second yellow card for his sliding tackle on Haring.

Hibs kept attacking but Hearts also began to threaten with Macey making a decent save in the 73rd minute from Simms’ low drive.

Elias Melkersen and Josh Campbell replaced Stevenson and Paul McGinn as Maloney went for broke in the final 15 minutes.

Gordon saved a 30-yard free-kick from Henderson down at his right-hand post and Melkersen headed a Cadden cross wide of the target but even eight minutes of added time – where Gordon saved a free-kick from substitute Chris Mueller – could not bring an equaliser.

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