Premiership play-off: Hibernian through to semi-final after beating Raith
By Allan Valente
Last Updated: 07/05/16 4:01pm
Hibernian will play Falkirk in the Scottish Premiership play-off semi-final after they beat Raith Rovers 2-0 at Easter Road to complete a 2-1 aggregate win.
The quarter-final tie was slightly tipped in the visitors' favour going into the match after on-loan Leicester striker Harry Panayiotou scored the only goal of the game in the first leg at Stark's Park.
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However, two goals in the opening 12 minutes from John McGinn and Darren McGregor in Edinburgh ensured the home side progressed.
The tension among the home support was palpable as their side exerted early pressure but that gave way to relief and optimism in the eighth minute when McGinn's shot from the edge of the box, while he was being tackled by Iain Davidson, looped over goalkeeper Kevin Cuthbert and went in off the bar.
Rovers boss Ray McKinnon, linked heavily with the vacant managerial post at Dundee United, had to rethink totally four minutes later when McGregor rose in a packed penalty area to head in Liam Henderson's corner.
The Kirkcaldy men had no option but to emerge from their shell and 10 minutes before the break only a McGregor tackle prevented Louis Longridge getting his shot away after he rounded goalkeeper Conrad Logan.
Hibs bossed the start of the second half and Cuthbert was called into action to make a crucial save from Henderson's curling shot. However, as the second period unfolded further, Hibs' slender lead meant the nerves began to return.
Rovers, hungrier and quicker to the ball, were dominating and in the 73rd minute defender Lewis Toshney headed a Rory McKeown cross past the far post when it looked like he should have hit the target.
The home side came roaring back with Hibs skipper David Gray heading a McGinn free-kick against the post with six minutes remaining.
Alan Stubbs' side ended the match mostly on the back foot, however, and there was some anxiety in the four minutes of added-on time but Rovers could not find a way through.
The semi-final first leg will take place on Tuesday, May 10 at Easter Road, with the second leg on May 13 in Falkirk.