Hibs thrash ten-man Inverness to book semi-final spot
- 5 separate scorers for Hibs as they rout Inverness 5-2 at Easter Road.
- Inverness score two goals despite McKay sending off.
- Hibs are through to the Scottish Cup semi-final for the sixth time in nine years.
Hibernian booked their place in the Scottish Cup semi-finals after thrashing Inverness 5-2 at Easter Road on Friday night.
Paul Hanlon missed a penalty before the onslaught began, with Adam Jackson, Scott Allan, Greg Docherty, Stephane Omeonga and Jamie Gullan all finding the back of the net for the home side.
As for Inverness, Carl Tremarco and Nikolay Todorov both managed to get on the score sheet either side of Brad McKay’s sending off.
It was the away side that had the first opportunity to open the scoring. Barely a minute into the game, Jordan White directed a header on target, with his effort being comfortably saved by Hibs goalkeeper Ofir Marciano. Hibs’ first chance came shortly after, after some quick passing led to Marc McNulty cutting the ball back to in-form Christian Doidge, who had his effort stopped by a last-ditch Brad McKay block.
A trademark Scott Allan through ball found Martin Boyle, who raced in behind the Inverness defence. The Australian international skipped past Mark Ridgers but fell to the ground before he could tap in the opener. Much to the dismay of the home support, referee Nick Walsh immediately booked Boyle for simulation and awarded the away side a free-kick.
Boyle, struggling to get forward without being hacked down by the opposition, attempted another cut-back for Doidge but again the pass was dealt with by McKay. Two resulting corners met by captain Paul Hanlon and his centre-back partner Adam Jackson were cleared.
Hibs continued to press however and they were soon rewarded. A tug on McNulty’s shirt from former Hearts defender Kevin McHattie saw Nick Walsh award a penalty to the home side. Hanlon, brimming with confidence, pushed usual penalty taker McNulty away and placed the ball on the spot.
That confidence was shattered when his poor effort and panicked rebound were both saved from Ridgers. Frustration started to grow for both Hibs fans and players as they struggled to break down a resilient Inverness defence.
Inverness’ only other real chance of the first half came when Tom Walsh broke through a tough Hibs backline and fired a powerful drive across Marciano. The Israeli keeper managed to get a slight touch to the ball as it bounced off the post and out for a corner.
The deadlock was broken in the 38th minute. A free-kick from range was met in the air by Doidge, who knocked it down to Jackson, with the defender managing to flick the ball over Ridgers from close range. With nerves settled, Hibs pushed for a second but it didn’t come before half-time.
Twelve minutes into the second-half, after weak penalty shouts from both sets of fans, Allan transformed from playmaker to goalscorer for Hibs. Boyle was again chopped down on an attack. He managed to slip the ball to McNulty, who then cut it back to Allan, with the midfielder placing his finish into the roof of the net.
Hibs grabbed a third in the 70th minute. Greg Docherty received the ball from Paul McGinn and finished from a tight angle in the bottom-left corner. Before the crowd could sit back down however, Inverness had pulled one back. A deflected effort from Carl Tremarco found its way into the back of the net.
Just as the away fans began to believe that their team would find a way back in this tie, their hopes were dashed as McKay received a straight red card. The defender was dismissed following a wild challenge into the back of Doidge, who had dribbled his way into launching a dangerous counter attack.
Hibs made the most of their new advantage and would go on to further extend their lead in the 82nd minute. Docherty picked out substitute Stephane Omeonga on the edge of the box, with the Belgian midfielder calmly placing a beautiful strike into the top corner, well out of Ridgers’ reach.
The floodgates had opened at Easter Road, with the fifth goal coming just two minutes later. Doidge found substitute Jamie Gullan, with the highly-rated youngster slotting his finish into the far-right corner for his first senior Hibs goal.
Neither team backed down despite the score line and it was Inverness who netted the final goal of this quarter final.
Despite a hefty deficit, Inverness battled hard until the final whistle, with their efforts being rewarded with a second goal in the 88th minute. A floated corner to the back post bounced off of Walsh and landed at the feet of Nikolay Todorov, who tapped the ball over the line to put an end to a feisty seven-goal thriller.
Hibernian are now in the draw for the Scottish Cup semi-final and the Leith faithful can get excited for another trip to Hampden.
Words and Pictures – Cameron Wanstall