Saturday, 19 May 2012

Hearts Are Broken...

127th Scottish Cup Final, Hampden; Hibernian 1, Heart of Midlothian 5

The 2012 Scottish Cup final will go down as one of the most one sided Scottish Cup Finals of all time as Hearts ran out 5-1 winners over their Edinburgh rivals.  The Hearts win was built on a complete and total dominance of the midfield area, a dominance that was cemented once Kujabi was sent off right at the start of the second half for a tug on Suso.  Hearts converted the resulting penalty and scored a fourth within moments to cement their 8th Scottish Cup win, their third in 14 years.

The first quarter of an hour of the game was very nervy as both sides settled into the game.  Both sides were playing 4-4-2.  Hearts were showing signs of exerting some dominance of midfield, and took full advantage in the 14th minute.  Hearts first corner was poorly cleared and fell to Ryan Elliott, his shot was defected into the box where there were two unmarked Hearts players waiting.  Closest to the ball was the former Falkirk skipper Darren Barr, who stabbed the ball past Brown.

All of a sudden Hearts were now dominating the midfield and the game.  They had created a couple of half chances, but did manage to double their lead on 26 minutes.  Andrew Driver picked up possession on the Hibs right, he passed the ball into Skatcel who’s deflected shot flew past Brown.  At this point you were beginning to think that Hib’s really had to do something or else they were going to really subside.  More so when moments after Hib’s missed their best chance so far (through O’Connor), Hearts could have gone 3-0 up.  Suso Santana's shot was cleared off the line by McPake.  Just before half time, Hib’s dramatically got back into it as a Soares cross was turned in by the Hib’s captain McPake.

At half time the speculation was that Hib’s had come back into the game, yet the game was over within five minutes of the re-start.  Santana was running into the box, tracked by Kujabi when Kujabi tugged Suso’s shirt outside the box, Santana also fell over just inside the box (there may have been contact between the two – replay’s show that this was minimal but did happen).  Referee Thompson made the correct decision to give Kujabi his second booking, which meant a sending off.  However it was a rank decision to give the penalty, which Granger scored to make it 3-1.  However, it does not excuse the poor decision by Kujabi to pull Suso back, his choice to pull Suso’s jersey back handed a rampant Hearts an even bigger advantage.  However, even if Thompson had not given the penalty, Hearts were still very much in the pound seat for this game, as the balance that had looked to be tipping back in Hib’s favour just before the break decisively came back into Heart’s favour.

Barr score's Hearts opening goal in 14 minutes
Within moments of the penalty Hearts extended their lead to 4-1 as a Skatcel shot was headed in by Ryan McGowan.  The fifth arrived with 15 minutes to go when Skatcel again smashed a shot past Brown, but by that time the party was well and truly under way at the Mount Florida end, while at the Kings Park end Hibernian fans took their cue to leave early.

So congratulations to Hearts then, it was a thoroughly professional ruthless performance against a team that, save for the 10 minutes before half time, just did not turn up.  Hearts now move ahead of Aberdeen in the all time Scottish Cup winners list (two behind Queens Park) with their eighth win.  Hibernian remain the Scottish Cup’s bridesmaid as their wait for a Scottish Cup win extends to 111 years.  Hibs might not be quite Hearts bunny in this competition just yet, but this heavy defeat will take a very long time to get over.

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