Scottish League Cup: Hibernian 5-3 Stranraer
Hibernian booked their place in the fourth round of the Scottish League Cup with a 5-3 win over Stranraer.
Last Updated: 25/09/13 11:26pm
Hibernian held off a valiant challenge from Stranraer before booking their place in the fourth round of the Scottish League Cup with an entertaining 5-3 victory.
Liam Craig netted a hat-trick for the home side, who trailed after three minutes and then saw a 4-1 lead trimmed to 4-3 in the space of four minutes shortly after half-time.
A surprise looked on the cards early on when Jamie Longworth nodded in a near-post corner from Chris Aitken - brother of Stranraer boss Stephen.
But the lead lasted only five minutes as Craig ghosted in to glance home Rowan Vine's cross from the left, and visiting keeper David Mitchell then pulled off excellent saves to keep out headers from Michael Nelson and Craig.
Frank McKeown flashed a header inches wide at the other end, while the lively Abdellah Zoubir and Alan Maybury both went close for dominant Hibs.
Zoubir's persistence was rewarded with a goal on 34 minutes as he cut in from the left before sending a right-foot strike in off the far post, although the ball took a significant deflection off the head of Grant Gallagher.
Hibs were gifted a third two minutes later when Scott Rumsby tried to cut out Vine's cross but could only steer into his own net past a stranded Mitchell.
Craig extended the lead further two minutes after the interval, racing onto Vine's pinpoint, lofted through-ball and prodding past the advancing Mitchell.
But Aitken hammered a long-range drive beyond the reach of Ben Williams a minute later, and Nelson inexplicably headed into his own net from Aitken's 52nd-minute corner.
However, the top-flight side responded with aggression and Craig's fierce effort flew wide before Zoubir's header narrowly cleared the crossbar.
Hibernian then gave themselves some breathing space on the hour when the hapless Rumsby handled a James Collins shot while grounded in the box and Craig made no mistake with the resulting penalty.
Vine and Zoubir both missed the target with good chances while the impressive Aitken fired just wide and then headed over the bar.
But it was the home side who came closest to a ninth goal of the night when Scott Robertson was denied by Mitchell, and Hibs ran out deserved winners to advance to the last eight.