Doidge hat-trick helps Hibs overcome Dundee United in Scottish Cup
- Christian Doidge nets second-half hat-trick as Hibs claim 4-2 win over Championship leaders
- Home side had fallen behind following stunning strike by Scotland striker Lawrence Shankland
- Hibs will now face Lowland League side BSC Glasgow in the Scottish Cup last-16
A second-half hat-trick from striker Christian Doidge helped Hibernian see off a determined Dundee United and progress to the last-16 of the Scottish Cup.
After holding Hibs to a 2-2 draw at Tannadice last week, the Championship leaders again proved a challenge for the Premiership side and took the lead at Easter Road through the in-form Lawrence Shankland.
Scott Allan equalised from the spot shortly before half-time, before Doidge struck his first of the day to put manager Jack Ross’ side ahead at Easter Road.
United pulled level again following a Lewis Stevenson own goal but Doidge powered home his second with a towering header from a corner to re-establish the lead.
Doidge then completed his hat-trick with another smart finish shortly before full-time.
The result means that Hibs become the first team to defeat the runaway Championship leaders since October and, after overcoming Robbie Neilson’s side, Ross will be fancying Hibs’ chances of a cup run with Lowland League opponents BSC Glasgow to come in the next round.
The red-hot United were always going to provide a challenge, but Hibs made the brighter start to the match and were inches away from taking the lead in the opening minutes.
Steven Whittaker made a bursting run forward from midfield, beating the challenges of two United defenders, but his low strike from just inside the box bobbled onto the outside of the post.
If Whittaker’s shot looked uncertain, Shankland’s strike minutes later was anything but.
After receiving the ball on his chest on the edge of the box, the in-form striker unleashed an unstoppable shot on the half volley which flew into the left corner.
The goal was the Scotland international’s 27th of the season, and there surely have been few better, although the Hibs fans will question how Shankland was afforded so much time and space to shoot by defender Adam Jackson.
Hibs continued to lack composure and wasted two good chances in quick succession not long after falling behind. Whittaker had his second opportunity of the game after bursting forward from midfield but fired his shot straight at United goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist, before Doidge lashed a shot over the bar from just inside the box after being slipped in with a clever touch from Scott Allan.
Hibs grew frustrated as the opening half wore on and, for the first time, United were allowed to grow into the game.
Shankland had his second sight of goal after again being afforded space in the box from a United corner, but this time he could not keep his volley down and the shot blazed high over the bar.
Shortly after, Peter Pawlett was released down the left but could not find an open Shankland in the box and his cross was cut out by Tom James.
With five minutes to go before half time, Hibs were suddenly handed the opportunity to level from the spot after Martin Boyle was brought down in the box by United midfielder Calum Butcher, who dangled a leg which sent the forward tumbling to the ground.
Allan stepped up and sent Siegrist the wrong way, calmly slotting his penalty into the bottom right corner for his eighth goal of the season.
After a tense and uneventful start to the second half, the game burst back into life on the hour mark as Hibs took the lead through Doidge.
Midfielder Joe Newell did well to feint into the box and clip the ball back along the six-yard line, where Doidge was lurking to volley into the net.
United almost equalised immediately from the restart as Louis Appere found his way into the Hibs box. Appere was denied by a smart save from goalkeeper Ofir Marciano, but the away side were to draw level minutes later.
It came from substitute Adrian Sproule, who had entered play only moments earlier and got in front of his man to turn a cross from the right towards goal. The shot took a deflection off the defending Stevenson, and evaded Marciano as it crossed the line.
But the tie soon swung back into Hibs’ favour, and it was Doidge again who provided the finishing touch.
From another Newell cross, this time a corner from the left, the striker rose highest to send a towering header crashing off the underside of the bar and past the diving Siegrist for his second of the day.
United manager Neilson sent on former Hearts forward Osman Sow in search of another equaliser, but it was Doidge who was to have the final say as he completed his hat-trick to take his tally for the season to 14 goals and finally put United to bed in the closing moments.
Hibs will travel to BSC Glasgow on Sunday February 9 for a place in the quarter-finals.