Hearts 4-2 Motherwell: Late goals secure Celtic clash in Scottish League Cup semis
Late goals from Olly Lee and Steven Naismith set up last-four clash
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 26/09/18 10:36pm
Olly Lee and Steven Naismith scored in the closing stages to see Hearts into a clash with Celtic after a pulsating 4-2 Scottish League Cup quarter-final win against Motherwell.
Lee’s 88th-minute strike put Hearts back in front and Naismith sealed a 4-2 win in stoppage-time when he scored on the break as Motherwell pushed to take the game into extra-time.
Ryan Bowman had threatened to do that with a brilliant finish after close-range finishes from Steven MacLean and Peter Haring had cancelled out Curtis Main’s early opener from the spot.
Hearts booked their first semi-final since 2014 while Motherwell suffered only their third defeat in 19 cup ties since Stephen Robinson took charge.
The action was immediate. Chris Cadden made goal-line clearances from Naismith and Haring as Hearts threatened from two early corners.
But Motherwell quickly imposed themselves on the game and Liam Grimshaw and Bowman failed to make the most of half-chances before the visitors were awarded a 12th-minute penalty.
Jimmy Dunne leaped with Liam Donnelly after Gael Bigirimana flighted a free-kick beyond the far post and Willie Collum pointed to the spot after loud appeals for handball. Main sent Zdenek Zlamal the wrong way.
Bigirimana’s passing was causing Hearts problems and he set Main up for a one-on-one with John Souttar but the striker opted for an early shot and it sailed harmlessly into Zlamal’s arms.
MacLean knocked Michael Smith’s driven cross just over before Motherwell had another good chance when Richard Tait’s pass sent Main down the left channel. Zlamal pulled off a one-handed stop and Dunne forced Bowman off the rebound with Collum ignoring penalty appeals.
Motherwell were keeping their defensive discipline well until the 35th minute when Bigirimana dwelt on the ball inside his own box and was dispossessed by Callum Morrison. The winger quickly crossed for Naismith to head into the path of MacLean, who knocked home from two yards.
Naismith and Main both came close from headers before the end of the half.
Hearts turned the screw after the break and Haring came close with a header moments before scoring in the 64th minute. The hosts kept the pressure on after a corner and Haring slid in to convert from inside the six-yard box after MacLean had fired the ball across the face of goal.
Motherwell brought on winger Elliott Frear and striker Danny Johnson for midfielders Bigirimana and Allan Campbell and went to what appeared at times to be a 4-2-4 formation.
Unsurprisingly, the game opened up again. Morrison was denied by Trevor Carson in a one-on-one before Main headed wide at the other end.
Bowman fired Motherwell back on level terms in the 80th minute with a brilliant finish. The forward latched on to Liam Donnelly’s headed clearance and fired a dipping volley into the top corner from 20 yards.
Extra-time loomed but Lee swept home Smith’s cutback from 14 yards before Naismith ran clear to slot home as Hearts cleared a Motherwell attack.