Scottish Cup final: Hibernian 1 - 5 Hearts
HEARTS overran Hibs at Hampden to claim victory in the William Hill Scottish Cup final this afternoon.
Hibernian: McPake (40)
Hearts: Barr (14), Skacel (27, 75), Grainger (46 pen), McGowan (50)
Goals from Darren Barr, Danny Grainger, Ryan McGowan and a double from Rudi Skacel earned the Tynecastle side a comfortable victory and the bragging rights in the Capital.
Barr had opened the scoring early in the match and their advantage was doubled before the half-hour mark as Skacel turned home a beauty.
Hibs gave themselves hope of a comeback when James McPake pulled one back five minutes before the break, only for a penalty 30 seconds into the second half to kill their dreams off, Grainger converting from 12 yards.
Just minutes later Ryan McGowan made it four and Skacel weighed in with his second 15 minutes from time, his low shot hitting off the base of the post and into the net.
Hibs had to play out almost the entire second half of the game with just ten men on the park after Pa Kujabi was shown a second yellow card, although the left-back could possibly consider himself unfortunate to have been judged to have brought Suso down for the penalty.
Hibs manager Pat Fenlon went with his favoured attacking duo of Garry O’Connor and Leigh Griffiths, while Tom Soares, Isaiah Osbourne and Jorge Claros joined Lewis Stevenson in the middle of the park.
There was no place in the squad for Ian Murray and Ivan Sproule had to make do with a seat on the bench.
Craig Beattie, who had been struggling with a hamstring injury in the build-up to the final also started the match on the bench and Rudi Skacel - who was playing what is likely to be his last game for Hearts - was on from the beginning.
Hampden was packed to the rafters for this one and an unbelievable atmosphere greeted both sides as they took to the field.
Ian Black was fortunate to escape a yellow card inside the opening 10 minutes when he caught Griffiths on the head as they rose to challenge for the ball, much to the Hibs fans’ fury.
Hearts could have opened their account in 12 minutes when a good ball in from the left from Andrew Driver found Skacel, but the Czech’s header looped wide of Mark Brown’s goal.
The first corner of the match went to Hearts after good pressure from Driver saw Matt Doherty forced to stick a foot in and send the ball behind - and the Tynecastle side took the lead from the set piece.
Danny Grainger’s ball in from the keeper’s right was knocked on by Andy Webster and Ryan McGowan before being half cleared by Osbourne and then finding it’s way back to the Aussie defender again.
His shot was deflected but the touch off the Hibs player simply took it into the path of Darren Barr and he made no mistake, ramming it into the net before wheeling away in celebration.
Hibs certainly seemed to be struggling to find their rhythm in the middle of the park although Osbourne, at least, was doing his best to get his foot on the ball .
The Easter Road outfit won a free kick when Lewis Stevenson was brought down by Skacel in the middle of the park and Griffiths took it. It looked a decent chance as McPake rose to head it on but O’Connor lost out in the battle with Grainger and referee Craig Thomson waved away their pleas for a spot kick.
Skacel doubled his side’s advantage in the 27th minute when he turned a lashed in the ball beyond Brown with the help of a wicked deflection off McPake, who for so much of this year has been the hero for Hibs.
There was less than half an hour gone but Fenlon surely couldn’t wait for the break to come so that he could regroup.
O’Connor should have pulled one back when Kujabi’s ball across the box found its way to him 10 yeards out but he couldn’t keep his shot on target and instead and instead fired well over the bar.
While Hibs seemed to panic and rush on the ball, Hearts looked more composed throughout the first half.
It could have been three before the break, this time only a brilliant piece of defending on the goal-line denying Suso’s effort.
Five minutes before the break Hibs got the goal they had so desperately been looking for, Tom Soares crossing from the right and McPake getting the vital touch into the net.
And Fenlon made a change in the celebrations, bringing Ivan Spoule on the replace Claros.
However, if he was hoping that things would improve after the break, he would have been disappointed as Hearts were awarded a penalty less than 30 seconds after the restart, although Suso seemed to trip himself up instead of Kujabi bringing him down.
The Hibs defender was sent off , Thomson showing him his second yellow of the game, and Grainger smashed the ball high into the net to Brown’s right.
And the game was over as a contest a couple of minutes later when Skacel turned the ball across goal, it was flicked on by Stephen Elliott and turned into the net by McGowan.
Fenlon knew his side had to throw everything at it and, as a last throw of the dice, brought on Eoin Doyle for O’Connor.
Spaces had already begun to appear in the Hibs end as the realisation sank in that their side had yet again lost their cvhance to end their Scottish Cup hoodoo.
And the ones who had left would have been relieved as Skacel rounded off the scoring in 75 minutes, being teed up by Suso before drilling a left-foot shot in off the post.
Hibernian: Brown, Doherty, Hanlon, Claros, O’Connor, Soares, McPake (captain), Stevenson, Kujabi, Osbourne, Griffiths. Subs: Grant, O’Hanlon, Doyle, Sproule, Francomb.
Hearts: MacDonald, Grainger, Barr, Webster, Suso, Black, Elliott, Driver, McGowan, Skacel, Zaliukas. Subs: Ridgers, Beattie, Taouil, Robinson, Prychynenko.
Referee: Craig Thomson