Hibs 1, Hearts 0. Scottish Cup R4. Sat, Dec 2, 2012
Hibs exacted some form of revenge for their Scottish Cup final derby defeat as David Wotherspoon’s late strike deflected off Marius Zaliukas to secure a 1-0 win and send holders Hearts crashing out.
Hibs had struggled to create chances and had top goalscorer Leigh Griffiths was carried off on a stretcher after Hearts midfielder Darren Barr stood on his ankle.
But their fans did not care in the slightest that their win was a scrappy one, or that their 83rd-minute winner came from a fortunate deflection, as they celebrated their first derby victory in 13 matches.
If ever a team owed their supporters a victory it was this one after their wait for their first Scottish Cup success since 1902 ended in the most painful of defeats.
Only five of Hibs’ starting team had played at Hampden in May with manager Pat Fenlon subsequently embarking on a rebuilding job in which the likes of Ben Williams, Ryan McGivern, Tom Taiwo and Alan Maybury arrived to add some steel.
Hearts have also undergone major changes since the final, but mostly outgoing. Six of their starting team featured at Hampden with the likes of Callum Paterson, Kebin McHattie and Jamie Walker since making the step-up from the youth team.
Manager John McGlynn, who was a fan at Hampden before replacing Paulo Sergio, was able to add some experience to the team with Mehdi Taouil and Arvydas Novikovas replacing Dylan McGowan and Jason Holt.
Hibs went into the game nine points above Hearts in second place in the SPL but they struggled to get forward in the first half.
Finding Novikovas early appeared to be a key facet to McGlynn’s tactics and Ryan Stevenson did so with a crossfield ball after two minutes that led to the first chance.
The Lithuanian sent over a deep cross that found Paterson but his header was blocked by the legs of Williams.
The first booking came shortly afterwards for McHattie’s body-check on Wotherspoon, which sparked some home pressure.
Jamie McDonald punched clear two inswinging free-kicks by Griffiths and Taiwo shot over from 20 yards, but it proved a false dawn for Hibs. Paterson was inches away from getting on the end of another Novikovas cross and Williams produced a good reaction stop after a glancing header from Zaliukas bounced off Hibs defender Paul Hanlon’s chest and towards the top corner.
Hearts continued to find Novikovas in space down the left. The Lithuanian fired well wide when a cross would have been a better option, appearing to hurt his ankle in the process, and then sent over a deep centre that drifted past Williams and bounced off the outside of the post.
A breakthrough looked unlikely until the 83rd minute. Paul Cairney switched the ball to Wotherspoon on the right wing after a Hearts attack broke down. The midfielder had Jorge Claros inside him but he decided to go past McHattie and unleash a shot, which took a heavy deflection off Zaliukas and flew over MacDonald and into the far corner.
Hibs: Williams, Maybury, Hanlon, McGivern, Stevenson, Wotherspoon, Taiwo, Claros, Cairney, Griffiths (Caldwell 54), Eoin Doyle (Sproule 71). . Subs not used: Murdoch, Shefki Kuqi, Donaldson.
Hearts: MacDonald, McGowan, Zaliukas, Webster, McHattie, Walker (J Sutton 73), Barr (Robinson 59) Taouil, Stevenson, Novikovas (Driver 46), Paterson. Subs not used: Enckelman, Smith.
Ref: Calum Murray.