How Hibs made it to the Scottish Cup final
The Hibees battled through replays and a penalty shoot-out to reach showpiece game ..
February 16: Raith Rovers 0, Hibs 2
Hibs had beaten Raith 1-0 at Easter Road seven days earlier, their third victory of the season over Rovers so they crossed the Forth in confident mood and they didn’t let down a large travelling support. They did, however, have to wait until the 61st minute for the opening goal, defender Darren McGregor drilling home a low shot only seven minutes after replacing Norwegian Niklas Gunnarsson, who had made a surprise debut for the Edinburgh club following his arrival on loan for the rest of the season. It was lifelong Hibs fan McGregor’s first for the club and the Easter Road outfit’s 1000th in the Scottish Cup. Three minutes later and Dominique Malonga clinched victory, the Congolese internationalist driving a rising shot into the top corner of Kevin Cuthbert’s net. Those happy fans returning to Edinburgh didn’t realise at the time, however, that it was to be Malonga’s last for the club, the 27-year-old leaving to return to Italian football.
February 7: Hearts 2, Hibs 2
Hibs started brightly against their Premiership opponents, John McGinn forcing a terrific save out of Hearts goalkeeper Neil Alexander before Jason Cummings had the ball in the net only to be ruled offside. But despite those early scares, the Tynecastle side looked to have the tie sewn up by half-time with goals from Arnaud Djoum and Sam Nicholson. Belgian midfielder Djoum latched on to Lewis Stevenson’s headed clearance 25 yards out to send an unstoppable shot beyond Hibs goalkeeper Mark Oxley before Nicholson proved just as deadly, taking Callum Paterson’s long, angled ball on his chest and rifling the ball home. With nothing to lose, Hibs took the game by the scruff of the neck after the interval and, just as it looked as if they were running out of time, Cummings met Liam Henderson’s cross to send a glancing header beyond Alexander. Even so, the clock was against Hibs until Alexander could only palm away Darren McGregor’s header, Paul Hanlon reacting quicker than anyone to slide the ball home from a few yards out.
February 16: Hibs 1, Hearts 0
Hibs began where they had left off in Gorgie, Jason Cummings scoring in his fourth successive Edinburgh derby as he stabbed captain David Gray’s cross into the roof of the net from close range after only four minutes. Robbie Neilson’s side struggled to cope with the pace and movement of their Championship opponents, particularly the relentless running of midfielder John McGinn. An Abiola Dauda goal was ruled offside, as was one from Juanma later in the game with both Igor Rossi and the Spaniard guilty of missing clear chances as Hearts began to turn the screw to leave Hibs hanging on somewhat to their narrow lead. Blazej Augustyn picked up a second yellow card as his frustration got the better of him, the Polish defender throwing the ball down into the ground to express his disgust at a decision by referee John Beaton. Hearts, however, were only short-handed for two minutes, match-winner Cummings following him up the tunnel as he, too, collected a second booking after stupidly kicking the ball away after it had run out of play.
March 6: Hibs 1, Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1
With Cummings suspended for this quarter-final match, James Keatings came in to partner Anthony Stokes up front for Hibs. The striker thought he had scored the opener when Stokes’ shot was tipped on to the post by Caley goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams for Keatings to follow up and net the rebound only to be flagged offisde. But Keatings did get the game’s first goal, Stokes slipping the ball to David Gray, who turned it low across goal for Keatings to guide it into the net from eight yards. It ended a 16-match goal drought for Keatings which stretched back to mid-November. Inverness boss John Hughes rang the changes in search of an equaliser and was rewarded when substitute Lewis Horner, a former Hibs youngster, cut the ball back for Jordan Roberts to touch it into the path of another substitute, Andrea Mbuyi-Mutombo, who forced a replay.
March 16: Inverness CT 1, Hibs 2
Hibs had to make the long journey up the A9 only four days after suffering the agony of losing the League Cup in the final minute to Caley’s near neighbours Ross County but they shrugged that bitter disappointment aside to keep themselves on track for another visit to Hampden. Anthony Stokes struck twice towards the end of the first half to give Caley an uphill struggle if they weren’t to become Hibs’ fifth Premiership victims of the season. However, Iain Vigurs threw them a lifeline when he narrowed the gap with 13 minutes remaining. Hibs then had to replace Mark Oxley, the goalkeeper losing a contact lense although referee Stephen Finnie accused him of time-wasting and flashed the yellow card, the big Yorkshireman’s second of the competition and one which would rule him out of the semi-final. Finnish Under-21 internationalist Otso Virtanen came on to make his Hibs debut and, although there were only two minutes remaining on the clock, Finnie added seven more, leaving Alan Stubbs’ players and the fans who had made the trip with a nerve-shredding ending to the game.
April 16: Hibs 0, Dundee United 0 (aet). Hibs won 4-2 on penalties
Hibs had already beaten United with some ease in the League Cup but boss Alan Stubbs’ warning that United would prove much more difficult this time round was well-founded. Hibs should have capitalised on a promising early display only for Jason Cummings to waste an opportunity to put them ahead from the penalty spot after Coll Donaldson used an arm to block Fraser Fyvie’s cross. Cummings attempted a “Panenka” only to chip the ball high over Eiji Kawashima’s crossbar. But the afternoon was to be all about Hibs goalkeeper Conrad Logan, drafted in on a short-term contract as cover for the suspended Mark Oxley, the former Leicester City man playing his first game in 16 months following a ruptured Achilles’ tendon. The Irishman twice denied United striker Billy Mckay in one-on-one situations and in extra-time pulled off great saves from one-time Hibs players John Rankin and Henri Anier. And on the one occasion he was beaten, Ryan Dow’s shot taking a deflection off Darren McGregor, there was Paul Hanlon to head the ball off the line. However, it was in the penalty shoot-out which was to follow in which Logan became an instant hero, brilliantly saving United’s first two efforts from Blair Spittal and McKay to present Cummings with the opportunity to redeem himself, one he gladly took as he hammered home the winning spot-kick.
And how Rangers made it
Rangers 5 (Wallace 19, McKay 33, Waghorn 48, 55, 78), Cowdenbeath 1 (Brett 40)
Rangers 0, Kilmarnock 0
Kilmarnock 1 (McKenzie 7), Rangers 2 (Waghorn 3, Clark 90)
Rangers 4 (Forrester 1, Holt 47, Halliday 54, Wallace 84), Dundee 0
Rangers 2 (Miller 16, McKay 96), Celtic 2 (Sviatchenko 50, Rogic 106) (AET). Rangers won 5-4 on penalties