Hartley the hero for Hearts
By Peter ORourke
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Paul Hartley inspired Hearts to a 4-0 Tennent's Scottish Cup semi-final win over Hibernian.
Paul Hartley inspired Hearts to a 4-0 Tennent's Scottish Cup semi-final win over Edinburgh rivals Hibernian
The former Hibs man was the hero for Hearts with a brilliant hat-trick to send them into next month's final with Edgaras Jankauskas scoring the other goal in the rout.
To complete a forgettable day for Hibs they ended the game with just nine men with Ivan Sproule and Gary Smith both seeing red for Tony Mowbray's men.
Hearts started brightly with Rudi Skacel breaking free down the left in the opening minute and firing over a dangerous cross which Jankauskas could not direct on target.
The Tynecastle outfit had the next chance of the contest on five minutes when Jankauskas fired straight at Zbigniew Malkowksi and the big striker tried his luck with an overhead kick six minutes later which failed to trouble Malkowksi.
Hibs fashioned their first opening of the game on 14 minutes when Steven Whittaker powered in a shot which Craig Gordon tipped over the crossbar and from the resulting corner Steven Fletcher flicked his header just wide of the far post.
Gary Caldwell should have done better on 20 minutes when he rose highest to meet Kevin Thomson's free kick inside the box, but he could only head his effort over the top.
Two minutes later Hartley saw his free kick from fully 35 yards out touched over the crossbar by Malkowksi.
Scottish international Hartley had another sight of goal on 25 minutes when he drove his shot from the edge of the box over the top.
It was a case of third time lucky for Hartley on 28 minutes when he broke from midfield and played a one-two with Jankauskas before deftly clipping the ball into the net.
Hearts captain Steven Pressley picked up a head injury right on the stroke of half time and although he was able to continue to the break he was forced off for the start of the second half.
Valdas Ivanauskas' men picked up where they left off at the start of the second half and Hartley saw his deflected free kick kept out by Malkowksi on 50 minutes.
Hearts doubled their lead just before the hour mark when Hartley caught out Malkowksi at his front post with a superb free kick from wide on the left.
Hibs tried to rally and Whittaker forced Gordon into a smart save on 61 minutes with a fierce shot.
Things got worse for Hibs 13 minutes from time Sproule was sent off for stamping on Saulius Mikoliunas.
Hearts added a third goal on 81 minutes when Jankauskas beat Malkowksi to Takis Fyssas' long ball up field on the edge of the area to leave himself with the simple of job of rolling the ball into the empty net.
Hibs were reduced to nine men when Smith was dismissed for pulling back Hearts substitute Michal Pospisil inside the box to concede a penalty.
Hartley took responsibility from the spot and he made no mistake to cap a memorable day for himself and Hearts.
The SPL outfit will now face Gretna in the final next month with the Division Two champions guaranteed a place in the Uefa Cup regardless of the result in the final.