By Blair McNally

With a place in The Scottish Cup Final at stake, Hearts defeated Edinburgh rivals Hibernian 2-1 after extra-time in semi-final action.

The first real chance came for Hibs in the 15th minute, Kevin Nisbet and Christian Doidge linking up on the edge of the opposition box. A Doidge ball from the right was narrowly missed by Nisbet and fell to summer signing Kyle Magennis towards the back post, his shot well blocked by the recovering Hearts defence.

Heart of Midlothian v Hibernian - Scottish Cup: First Semi-Final

Tense opening (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The first incident of the derby came after Andy Halliday decided to lay hands on Joe Newell after a crunching 50/50 tackle, questioning Willie Collum to brandish a card which the ref opted against.

In the 28th minute Nisbet was left wondering how he didn’t have Hibs ahead. An inch-perfect Martin Boyle cross from the right found Nisbet free in the six-yard box. His powerful header was met by a remarkable Craig Gordon save, diving down to his left keeping his clean sheet intact.

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Hibs started the second half like they finished the first, the more dominant of the two. However, they failed to break down a strong Hearts defence as several shots were blocked.

Heart of Midlothian v Hibernian - Scottish Cup: First Semi-Final

Robbie Neilson’s men stood tall. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

In the 59th minute, the Hearts faithful were sent into ruptures as last weekend’s match winner, Craig Wighton, broke the deadlock against the run of play. An Olly Lee cross from the right was met by the striker, who calmly guided it into the bottom corner with his head.

The Hearts lead was short lived, however, as seven minutes later Hibs were deservedly level. A curling Newell free kick was met by a towering Doidge header, drifting past a stretching Gordon who failed to hold on to his clean sheet.

Soon after it was the Hearts provider setting up the scorer once again as their link up caused the Hibs defence a scare. This time Wighton was unable to provide the finish from Lee’s delivery, keeping the score level at 1-1.

Heart of Midlothian v Hibernian - Scottish Cup: First Semi-Final

Battling ensued. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

In the 73rd minute, Hearts frontman Boyce missed another great chance, as he dramatically shot wide in a big opportunity. Ref Collum looked to have made, not one but two controversial decisions in stoppage time after Hibs were prevented strong penalty claims.

A free kick led to Craig Halkett potentially pulling Doidge down to the ground, followed by a desperate slide tackle from behind, attempting to latch onto the loose ball. This was to be the last action of the match as no penalty was awarded and both teams were sent into extra time.

The opening action of extra time came just three minutes in as Alex Gogic came close to putting Hibs in front after Gordon failed to get a strong hand onto a speculative volley, bouncing it onto the post and out.

Heart of Midlothian v Hibernian - Scottish Cup: First Semi-Final

Hearts would score next. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Another controversial decision was given 30 seconds into the second extra time half. Mihai Popescu the victim this time, he pulled out of a challenge with Newell, just inside the box, who fell to ground with minimal contact. Collum proceeded to award a penalty to the dismay of Hearts players. This was followed up by Nisbet smacking the bar from the penalty as he seemed to lean back.

Late substitute Aidy White was in the heat of the action minutes later as he was brought down by Paul McGinn, who was caught slacking and gave away a penalty. Hearts hitman Boyce comfortably stepped up and blasted home into the top left corner, putting Hearts ahead with 10 minutes left.

Doidge came close to equalising again in the 114th minute, as a Wayne Rooney-esque overhead kick was parried away by a strong Gordon save. Despite three minutes added time, this wasn’t enough for Hibs as Edinburgh became maroon, sending Hearts into the Scottish Cup Final.

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