Hibee History: Griffiths hat-trick sends Hibs into the last four
Hibs progressed to the Scottish Cup semi-finals after beating Kilmarnock in a six-goal thriller at Rugby Park.
Leigh Griffiths was again the hero for those of a green and white persuasion and he duly opened the scoring for Pat Fenlon’s team before James Dayton levelled.
Matt Done regained the advantage for the visitors, but this was cancelled out by Paul Heffernan’s penalty.
Griffiths grabbed a second, before Ross Barbour saw red for a pull on the striker, with a William Gros handball allowing Griffiths to score a last-minute penalty and claim his hat-trick.
The talismanic Griffiths capitalised on a simple long ball from David Wotherspoon to slot the ball under Killie goalkeeper Cammy Bell and claim his 20th goal of the season to kick-off the scoring.
Killie put pressure on the Hibs defence in search of an equaliser, and the Ayrshiremen drew level when Dayton rifled home on the rebound after Hibs goalkeeper Ben Williams had parried a long-range effort from Gros.
After a pattern of midfield deadlock, a disastrous mix-up between Bell and Sissoko left a loose ball at Done’s feet 12 yards from an empty net, and the midfielder made no mistake.
Heffernan almost dragged his side level on the stroke of half-time, juggling the ball inside the Hibs box before rifling a volley inches past Williams’ right-hand post.
The home defence continued to look jittery as the second half opened, and, after losing possession again, Griffiths waltzed into the box, but Bell scrambled his shot away.
Full-back Barbour broke forward for Killie, as the home side’s play became more urgent, but his left-footed effort from a tight angle blazed wide of the mark.
Later on in the half, Dayton forced a great save from Williams from a left-footed strike at the edge of the box. However, the officials judged that Lewis Stevenson had bundled over Heffernan as he went for the rebound, and the striker lashed the penalty into the net.
Griffiths then passed up a great chance for Hibs, opting to shoot from a narrow angle with Done waiting in the six-yard box.
But the striker was not to be denied, outpacing Sissoko and robbing the ball from Bell’s despairing grasp to slip the ball into the net.
The goal prompted Shiels to bring on Boyd, but the striker was unable to rescue the tie for the hosts.
Barbour saw red as the late drama continued, pulling back Griffiths in a dangerous position. Then Gros handled as part of the defensive wall at the free-kick, giving Griffiths the chance of a hat-trick, which he claimed with an emphatic penalty strike.
Hibs: Williams, McGivern, McPake, Maybury, Claros, Wotherspoon, Stevenson, Done, Taiwo, Robertson, Griffiths