Hamilton 0-2 Hearts: Record away support sees Jambos reach the Scottish Cup quarter-finals

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Stephen Humphrys and Cammy Devlin scored in each half as Hearts enjoyed a straightforward passage to the Scottish Cup quarter-finals in South Lanarkshire.

The on-loan Wigan forward Humphrys struck a sweet drive before substitute Devlin claimed a late second in front of the biggest away support at Hamilton Academical since their current ground opened in 2001.

In total, 3,727 Hearts fans were accommodated in all three stands at the ZLX Stadium. Hamilton officials confirmed that as a record at full-time. Those from the Capital arrived anticipating cup progress and were not disappointed. The Premiership side were strong favourites given Hamilton sit bottom of the Championship and they had plenty of the ball throughout the 90 minutes without ever hitting top gear.

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Two goals were enough to take them into the last-eight draw, which takes place on Monday at 5.30pm live on the Scottish Cup social media channels. Hearts have reached three of the last four finals in this tournament and already publicly declared their desire to take part in this season’s showpiece on Saturday, June 3.

In front of BBC Scotland’s live television cameras, Robert Snodgrass captained the Edinburgh side in the absence of the suspended Lawrence Shankland. Hamilton’s Hearts loanee Connor Smith watched from the stand, unable to play against his parent club because of loan regulations.

Hearts dominated the opening stages and Humphrys should have at least hit the target on 23 minutes following a corner. He volleyed over from six yards despite scoring from 60 against Dundee United last week. The Englishman then headed Stephen Kingsley’s left-sided cross into the arms of Hamilton goalkeeper Ryan Fulton.

Third time lucky, he opened the scoring a minute later following a patient move involving umpteen passes. The ball was worked from left to right and back again before Alex Cochrane fed Barrie McKay, he moved the ball onto Josh Ginnelly, who laid off to Humphrys. Two touches with his right foot preceded a low finish with the left which beat Fulton at his near post.

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Hamilton’s first effort on goal was curled wide by striker Jean Pierre Tiehi, and Kingsley rolled a right-footed shot wide at the opposite end before the interval. Swirling wind and rain greeted the teams for the second period but play initially continued to flow in one direction towards Fulton’s goal.

Stephen Humphrys celebrates making it 1-0 Hearts during the Scottish Cup tie at Hamilton.Stephen Humphrys celebrates making it 1-0 Hearts during the Scottish Cup tie at Hamilton.
Stephen Humphrys celebrates making it 1-0 Hearts during the Scottish Cup tie at Hamilton.

The hosts needed better ball retention in order to hurt their opponents. They mounted some concerted pressure on the hour mark and Matthew Shiels forced the Hearts goalkeeper Zander Clark into his first real save. The game was interrupted by a raft of substitutions and, although the visitors weren’t controlling play to the same extent, they seldom looked in too much danger.

Victory was complete 11 minutes from time when Devlin prodded the second goal of the evening. He controlled fellow sub Alan Forrest’s cross and was challenged before poking the ball bouncing past Fulton from close range. That guaranteed Hearts would take their place in the quarter-finals.

Hamilton (3-5-2): Fulton; Owens (Winter 70), McGowan, O’Reilly; Tumilty (Zanatta 70), De Bolle, Martin, L Smith (One 61), Shiels; Tiehi, Stephenson (McGinn 54).

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Hearts (3-4-1-2): Clark; Hill, Sibbick, Kingsley; M Smith (Atkinson 73), Grant (Forrest 58), Snodgrass, Cochrane; McKay (Oda 73); Humphrys (Devlin 65), Ginnelly.

Referee: Kevin Clancy

Attendance: 4,731