William Hill Scottish Cup Semi-Final 2019/20
Heart of Midlothian 2-1 Hibernian (aet)
Saturday, 31 October 2020, kick-off 5pm
Hearts: Craig Wighton (60), Liam Boyce (112)
Hibernian: Christian Doidge (66)
Hearts secured a place in December’s Scottish Cup Final for the second year in a row following a frantic 120 minutes at Hampden Park.
Wighton and Doidge were both on the scoresheet in normal time but this was a match that would go the distance and despite there being no supporters it was played at a frantic pace.
Craig Gordon was deservedly named Man of the Match in a game where he was extremely busy but it was Liam Boyce who secured their place in the final with a coolly dispatched penalty, just moments after Kevin Nisbet missed a spot-kick at the other end.
Hearts' victory will go down as particularly poignant on the day that Marius Zaliūkas, the last Jambo to lift the Scottish Cup, sadly passed away.
As it happened
Inside an eerie Hampden Park, the two sides walked out to the famous sound of the James Bond theme in tribute to the passing of Sean Connery earlier in the day.
The first clear-cut opportunity came after 16 minutes at the feet of Hibernian’s Kyle Magennis who found himself with a great opportunity to put his side in front but Michael Smith was on hand to pull off a crucial block.
Martin Boyle was a constant threat for Hibs with his pace and a persistent danger for the Hearts defence.
After 28 minutes it was his crossing ability that caused Hearts problems when his curling effort was met by the head of Kevin Nisbet. The striker directed his header goalwards and just as it looked like the net would ripple, Craig Gordon dived to his left and pulled off a sensational save.
Mihai Popescu was nearly left red faced after 43 minutes when he was dispossessed in the middle of the pitch and with Nisbet bursting towards goal the Hearts centre back hauled him down and was deservedly booked.
At half-time the sad news of former Hearts captain Marius Zaliukas passing away circulated around the small number of people inside Hampden Park.
The Hearts side on the pitch then looked to do him proud and did so after 60 minutes when Olly Lee swung the ball into the back post and Craig Wighton was on hand to head home.
The goal came against the run of play as it was Hibs who had dominated the start of the second period. Jack Ross’s side retaliated immediately and six minutes after Wighton’s goal the ball was in the net at the other end.
A Joe Newell free-kick was hit to the back post and Christian Doidge was able to rise high and direct it beyond Craig Gordon.
The game had been sparked into life and Wighton had a chance to make it two for Hearts but, with plenty of space inside the box, he rushed his shot and hit it well wide of the target.
After 73 minutes it was Liam Boyce’s turn with a good opportunity, and even though he was clean through on goal he contrived to slide the ball to the side of the goal frame with extra-time on the horizon.
The first 15 minutes of extra-time was played in a similar fashion to the 90 that had gone before with Hearts and Hibs both going close to a goal.
Craig Gordon had to frantically push a Gogic shot onto the post and at the other end Hibs were forced to clear a shot off line.
At the start of the second half of extra time Popescu brought down Newell and Nisbet stepped up for the spot-kick.
With all the pressure on his shoulders the former Dunfermline striker smashed the crossbar and the ball bounced clear.
The match then took an even more dramatic turn when Aidy White was brought down in the box by Paul McGinn after 111 minutes on the clock.
Liam Boyce showed nerves of steel to tuck home the spot-kick.
As the game came to a close, man of the match Craig Gordon proved his worth with an outstanding save from an acrobatic Christian Doidge strike.
As the final whistle blew Robbie Neilson and his backroom team burst into scenes of euphoria knoning they were heading to another final.
Hearts will now play the winner of Celtic v Aberdeen which takes place tomorrow at 2.30pm tomorrow.
The final is on Sunday, 20 December.
Heart of Midlothian: Gordon, Smith, Kingsley, Halkett, Popescu, Lee (Henderson, 97), Halliday (Irving, 117), Roberts (Haring, 55), Walker (Naismith, 55), Boyce, Wighton (White, 82).
Unused substitutes: Stewart, Brandon, Moore, McGill.
Hibernian: Marciano, P McGinn, Porteous, Hanlon, Doig (Mackie, 87), Gogic (Mallan, 114), Magennis (Murphy. 61), Newell, Boyle, Doidge, Nisbet.
Unused substitutes: Barnes, Gray, McGregor, Hallberg, Wright, Gullan, Murphy.