Both sides had chances in the first half as Paul Hanlon missed a penalty for Hibs on the half-hour mark before Tom Walsh cracked the post up the other end. Adam Jackson made sure there was a first half goal though, heading beyond Caley goalkeeper Mark Ridgers six minutes from the break.
It was all but put out of Inverness’ reach with 56 minutes on the clock, Scott Allan finding a route goal from a Marc McNulty pass after a rapid counter-attack. Greg Docherty finished the game as a contest with a third Hibs goal 20 minutes from time but a whirlwind end was to come. Inverness pulled one back through a deflected Carl Tremarco cross and watched Brad McKay get his marching orders after a rash tackle om Christian Doidge.
Hibs put the final nail in the Caley coffin with Stephane Omeonga’s top corner finish with ten minutes to spare before Jamie Gullan got on the act with a fifth Hibees goal. Nikolay Todorov pulled another consolation back for Caley as a frantic 20 minutes came to a close with Hibs cup progression.
The last time these two met in the Scottish Cup was 2016, a pretty famous year all things considered for Hibs and the Scottish Cup. It was a 1-1 draw in that tie and Alan Stubbs’ side had to win in the Highlands on their way to a famous cup lift.
Avoiding a replay would be the main aim for Jack Ross’ Hibs this time around in order to avoid that midweek jaunt to Inverness. They had a penalty claim to grab that initiative.
Marc McNulty put Hibs star Martin Boyle through on goal and he went down upon what looked like a Mark Ridgers dive. Referee Nick Walsh booked the Australian international for diving as the home side made their first move behind enemy lines.
Inverness showed they could pose their Premiership foes trouble though, waltzing up the park before Walsh blasted a shot wide on the 15th minute mark. The away side were certainly leaving their mark on Boyle, picking up three yellow cards inside 20 minutes for fouls on the winger.
Caley had limited Hibs to their credit for 29 minutes but Kevin McHattie’s push on McNulty in the box gave Hanlon, the centre-half, the chance to score from the spot. But Ridgers was the hero, stopping the penalty excellently before tipping a Hanlon rebound over the bar.
Both Marc McNulty and Scott Allan have missed penalties in recent weeks and the experienced centre-half wasn’t able to do much better. It certainly gave their visitors a boost as they began to press that bit more aggressively.
Walsh watched in horror five minutes after the penalty miss as his big chance flashed across the Hibs goal line. Ofir Marciano must have got something on it as his shot from inside the box ricocheted off the post, across the line, and out for a corner.
That miss was an especially bitter pill to swallow as Hibs marched up the park to get in front. Boyle’s free kick eventually made it’s way to Christian Doidge, who flicked it on into Jackson’s path. The centre-half made it three goals in four games with a nice cushioned effort as his side found some legroom.
John Robertson’s side had plenty of work to do second half in order to get back on level terms and a Walsh chance one minute into the second 45 showed they had potential to do so.
They were defending valiantly at the other end by throwing lots of bodies behind Hibs attacks. They had a penalty shout 56 minutes into the game, but as Charlie Trafford lay helpless in the home penalty box, Hibs raced into a two-goal lead.
Boyle turned on the afterburners to start the counter-attack, slipping McNulty in behind. Hibs’ Reading loanee took the ball in his stride before finding Scott Allan with the cutback, who proceeded to put the ball into the net. A Scottish Cup semi-final was in their sights.
It was all about keeping cool now, riding out this game and into the last four. Docherty made sure they weren’t sweating for too long, combining with Paul McGinn to wrap progression up.
Inverness weren’t prepared to go quietly. Two minutes after the third Hibs goal, Tremarco raced up the park and his cross went in past Marciano, breathing some life into this quarter final.
One step was taken forward but two more were taken back the way just a minute after a lifeline goal. McKay’s lunge on Doidge saw him red carded and any further hopes of a heroic Caley comeback were killed.
Omeonga made doubly sure of that with a brilliant piledriver from 18 yards before Gullan nicked in front of Ridgers to deliver a fifth goal of the night for those supporting Leith endeavours.
Todorov’s late goal was a mere token for Inverness who had actually performed well in this match, despite what the 5-2 scoreline may suggest, Alas, it’s Hibs who are in the Scottish Cup semi-finals. Here are three things we learned.
Inverness can trouble Premiership sides
It would have been a huge achievement for Inverness to reach the Scottish Cup semi-finals in two successive years but it wasn’t to be for them in Leith. Their performance levels though, mainly in the first half, will be a major positive for boss Robertson.
His men battled with swagger and style in some cases going forward but a second half collapse led to a heavy defeat in the end. If they can maintain their promotion bid in the Championship, Inverness have the ability to match whoever finishes 11th in a Premiership play-off encounter.
He’s been a key player for Ross since his arrival at the club and Boyle once again was brilliant for him. Booked for simulation less than ten minutes in, that wasn’t set to define his game.
His pace blitzed the Inverness defence and his counter-attack led to the second Hibs goal. Another encouraging display from the winger who looks like he’s enjoying his football at the moment.
End to a positive week in Leith
Progressing to a cup semi-final in such convincing fashion is the perfect accompaniment to a fruitful week at Easter Road. Owner Ron Gordon has laid out his future plans to supporters this week.
It has filled fans with optimism and this brings a good few days to a close. A bright future would appear to be in wait for Hibs but they might not need to look far for more history if they play their cards right.