25 May 2022 | 08:01 | Football
Hearts beat 10-man Hibernian 2-1 at Hampden Park to reach their third Scottish Cup final in four years.
Brilliant goals from striker Ellis Sims and defender Stephen Kingsley gave Gimbers a two-goal lead on 21 minutes before Hibbs midfielder Chris Carden narrowed the deficit immediately.
Red goalkeeper Craig Gordon made a stunning save in the 54th minute, pushing Ryan Porters’ header from the corner onto the post and gratefully grabbed the rebound.
Hibbers midfielder Joe Newell was sent off in the 64th minute by referee John Beaton for the second of two yellow cards for a foul on Peter Haring in a heated and occasionally grumpy encounter .
Hearts, who played either Celtic or Rangers in the final, are now guaranteed a place in the Europa League, having already finished third in the Premier League no matter what happens in the final. If they lose the Europa League group stage safety net, they will be in the Europa League play-offs.
Hibbers boss Sean Maloney made five changes after last week’s derby humiliation, Ryan Portes returned from suspension, James Scott, Ewan Henderson, Lewis Stevenson and a healthy Paul McGinn return to the team.
The unchanging Hearts had to endure some early Hibbs pressure to call out an Easter Road penalty early when the ball hit Gimbers defender Kingsley in the arm and was ignored by referee Beaton, judging for
Barrie McKay was quick to the Simms striker, the 21-year-old loan Everton striker wasted no time on goalkeeper Matt Macey’s 20-yard shot.
The second goal five minutes later was even better, after Hearts won a free-kick from 35 yards.
Kingsley passed the ball to Liam Boyce, who brought it down and fired a superb shot in front of a helpless Messi.
It looked ominous for the Leith side, but just over a minute later, Carden pulled one back on his second attempt from 14 yards after Lewis Stevenson’s first shot was blocked. ball.
Tynecastle midfielder Andy Halliday limped off in the 39th minute and was replaced by Aaron McEneff.
Hearts suffered a blow early in the second half and defender Craig Halkett had to be carried off on a stretcher to be replaced by Tyler Moore after Hibbs striker James Scott tackled.
Hibs pressed the leveler as Hearts regrouped.
However, Hibbs’ momentum was halted when Newell was booked for a foul on McKay early in the first half, as he was shown a second yellow card for a slip on Harlem.
Hibs continued to attack, but Hearts also started to threaten, and Macey made a good save from Simms’ low shot in the 73rd minute.
Elias Melkerson and Josh Campbell replaced Stevenson and Paul McGinn, with Maloney scoring in the final 15 minutes.
Gordon saved Henderson’s free-kick from 30 yards on the right post, Melkersen headed in and Carden crossed the net, but even 8 minutes of extra time – Gordon made it from Substitute Chris Muller saved a free-kick – also failed to bring an equalizer.
The Hibs travel to St Mirren at 3pm on Saturday and the Hearts travel to Dundee United on Sunday at 3pm for the second stage of the Scottish Premiership.