Hearts extends its unbeaten streak. Thanks to the three-goal effort by Josh Ginnelly, Lawrence Shankland, and Toby Sibbick, who eliminated Hibernian from the Scottish Cup in the fourth round.
Goals on either side of halftime all but ended the draw before the late third, despite the fact that Lee Johnson’s team dominated large swaths of the game.
Shankland scored 20 goals for Hearts, the first player to do so since 1992, but the team’s captain got a red card in the final seconds of regulation.
With this result, Hearts manager Robbie Neilson has his first victory at Easter Road, but his adversary, Hibs manager Johnston, is under more pressure than ever before.
Before the game, Neilson had declared that form didn’t matter, and if it was a bluff, it didn’t seem to work at first. Hibs, from the opening whistle, looked like the squad that was cruising to another third-place finish.
Elie Youan and Aidan McGeady were terrifying for the Hearts’ defense. The Hibs winger turned back the clock and looked like the young man who terrorized Premier League defenses more than a decade ago.
During the match
Two chances were provided to Josh Campbell. After volleying it back, he deftly flicked it onto a post. The other was a strong header that he, unfortunately, couldn’t direct toward the goal.
Hearts scored during a break between those two opportunities. That’s how Hearts extends their unbeaten streak with a hard-fought victory over their rivals.
Ryan Porteous, who may have played his last game for Hibs due to transfer rumors, gave away a foolish free kick, which bounced dangerously in the area, and Ginnelly was the first to respond, rifling in from close range.
Hibs started the second half similarly to the first, with plenty of space on the outside but none in the middle. That’s what makes the final difference.
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In the broad areas where Shankland picked up the ball, there appeared to be no defenders around. With space provided by Chris Cadden, he cut inside, exchanged passes with Stephen Humphrys, and then blasted a half-volley past David Marshall.
When Shankland, Hearts’ captain, was shown two questionable yellow cards for repeatedly tangling with Rocky Bushiri in stoppage time, nerves began to fray.
Even though Youan scored again for Hibs, it would be Hearts who would put their opponents to the sword when Sibbick charged forward and dinked easily over Marshall to preserve the city’s pride for the time being.
Hibs were dominant on the field and in the statistics, but they were toothless in the clutch. Despite their limited output, hearts always maximized the opportunities they were given.
The Englishman, who was formerly reviled, has earned widespread respect at the Card Game of Hearts. Rigid in the back and smooth in the front.
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As Hearts’ manager Robbie Neilson put it: “He probably lied and said we were 3-0. It’s quite squalid, and you barely have any say over anything. At the end of the day, we scored when it mattered most and advanced.”
“Sometimes, you just have to take a chance. In my opinion, we did everything we could to secure a victory. When we bring in replacements, the overall performance of the team improves.”
As the manager of Hibernian, Lee Johnson, says: “The players have worked really hard, and we’re all frustrated that we’ve let in three goals while creating none. We put some decent shots on goal, but they’ve been more clinical and stout defensively. Both packages were necessary today.
“Angry and hurt, they can’t take it anymore. True friends tell each other the truth. It is my responsibility to maintain hope for these guys.”