Fourth round: Auchinleck 0-5 Hearts (January 21)
There was some degree of trepidation about this fixture against the West of Scotland League side considering the humiliation suffered at the hands of Brora Rangers in last year’s competition, while the Ayrshire outfit also gave Hearts quite the scare at Tynecastle back in 2012. The hosts did have an early opportunity but from point forward it was a naturally dominant display from the Premiership side as Liam Boyce scored twice, Andy Halliday put in a man-of-the-match performance on the left wing and added other goal before Peter Haring and Alex Cochrane completed the scoring. It was also the debut of Nathaniel Atkinson, who notched his first assist with a good run and cross for Cochrane.
Fifth round: Hearts 0-0 Livingston (February 12; Hearts win 4-3 on penalties)
To win the Scottish Cup you need a bit of luck and Hearts got some in this drab encounter at Tynecastle. Though the hosts finished the stronger side inside 90 minutes and in extra-time, they had to survive a couple of heart-in-mouth moments, including the visitors striking the woodwork. The match eventually went to penalties. Hearts scored all four of their attempts, while Cristian Montano put his effort wide of the post and Livingston’s regular taker Ayo Obileye became the fifth player to ever have a penalty saved from Craig Gordon in a shoot-out.
Quarter-final: Hearts 4-2 St Mirren (March 12)
This certainly made up for the tedium of the previous round with a good ol’ fashioned ‘proper cup tie’ under the lights in Gorgie. In a thoroughly entertaining contest, Hearts raced into a two-goal lead within 30 minutes after Haring added to Beni Baningime’s opener (his first goal for the club). Eamonn Brophy took advantage of some slack home defending to reduce the arrears before Connor Ronan equalised with an outrageous effort which bamboozled Craig Gordon and flew into the far corner. Lacking depth due to an injury crisis, head coach Robbie Neilson made the only attacking change available to him, bringing on Aaron McEneff who scored with his second touch before setting up Ellis Simms to seal the win.
Semi-final: Hearts 2-1 Hibs (April 16)
Having swatted them aside in the second half at Tynecastle the previous week to ensure a third-place finish – and to deny Hibs a spot in the top six – it looked like Hearts were once again set to embarrass their rivals at the national stadium as Stephen Kingsley scored a tremendous free-kick to add to Simms’ thunderous opener. Hibs, however, refused to go down without a fight. Chris Cadden pulled one back a minute after Kingsley’s goal and the Easter Road club had the better of the play from that point forward. Craig Gordon was forced into making a terrific save from Ryan Porteous in the second half, while Joe Newell’s red card limited Hibs’ efforts to push the match into extra-time. After nine minutes of injury time the full-time whistle mercifully sounded and Hearts had once again beaten their oldest foes in Glasgow.