The Scottish Cup
Hibernian 1 Hearts 5, 2012
The first Edinburgh Derby in a Scottish Cup Final since 1896 delivered one of the most memorable days in the history of Heart of Midlothian, delivering a dominant 5-1 win over city rivals Hibs.
Over fifty thousand fans made the journey from Edinburgh to contest what was dubbed in the build-up the ‘salt and sauce final’.
Despite poor league which say them finish 11th, Hibs enjoyed a relatively serene progression to the Final, winning each round without the need for replays. In the Semi-Final, a late goal from Leigh Griffiths sent Hibs through. Hearts by comparison took the scenic route, requiring replays in the fifth round against St Johnstone and quarter-final against St Mirren. In their Semi-final, former Celtic player Craig Beattie knocked out his old side with a late penalty.
Hibs came into the game missing their first choice goalkeeper, with Graham Stack injured in the semi-final. Mark Brown was his replacement. Hearts’ Semi-Final hero had to make do with a place on the bench, having struggled with a hamstring injury.
In the Hampden sun, Hearts started brightest and made the breakthrough in the fourteenth minute. Darren Barr was quickest to react after a Danny Grainger corner wasn’t cleared properly, stabbing home from the edge of the six-yard box.
Just over ten minutes later and Hearts had doubled their lead. Hearts cult hero Rudi Skacel picked up the ball in a pocket of space on the edge of the area before sending a shot looping into the net, picking up a fortunate deflection off James McPake.
Hibs needed to respond and it was captain McPake who dragged the Leith side back into the game, when a cross from the right found its way to the skipper who tapped in from close range. Going into half-time the tie was very much in the balance.
Hearts pile on the misery
On the resumption of the game, Hearts quickly took control. Winger Suso Santana was pulled back by Pa Kujabi on the by-line, with referee Craig Thomson awarding Hearts a penalty and Kujabi his second yellow. Danny Grainger slotted the penalty and Hibs had a mountain to climb, 3-1 down and a man down.
Within a couple of minutes, the tie was effectively ended as a contest, with Ryan McGowan heading home from close range after Mark Brown had saved from Stephen Elliott. With forty minutes to go, Hearts were in full command of the Final.
With fifteen minutes to go, Skacel would further endear himself to Hearts fans by adding a fifth. Again, he picked the ball up outside the box, glided past a tired challenge before picking the bottom right corner.
A sea of maroon
Hearts fans reveled in one of the greatest day in their history. On the return to Edinburgh, an estimated 100,000 jambos lined the streets for an open-top bus parade.
Manager Paulo Sergio described it as the best achievement of his career. Cup heroes Rudi Skacel, Ian Black and Craig Beattie all departed the following summer, leaving as Cup winners.