Hibs are one game away from another trip to Hampden as they won 4-0 away to Stranraer in the Scottish Cup fourth round.
Stranraer had manned the barricades admirably but Christian Doidge eventually fired the away team in front before Kevin Nisbet doubled the lead in the second half. Martin Boyle notched a brace as Hibs now face Motherwell at Easter Road next Saturday in fifth round action for a place in the Scottish Cup semi-finals.
The Easter Road club did test Greg Fleming in the Stranraer net several times but this was not going to be an easy task on unfamiliar territory. Nisbet had two major chances go past him as Hibs missed the chance to pull away in under 30 minutes.
Standing as the only lower league club in the competition after every team under the Scottish Premiership was eliminated over Friday and Saturday, the League Two club weren’t ready to suffer the same fate quietly. They did get up the park but Hibs were peppering their goal with chances.
Eventually they did get in front seven minutes before half-time. Ryan Porteous’ touch off a corner landed to Doidge with his back to goal, swiveling well to blast high into the net. Another goal was needed to make this result a formality and Nisbet atoned for his previous errors on the hour-mark.
Albeit he was aided by a deflection, his free-kick wrong-footed Fleming to all but send Hibs into the quarter-finals. It could have been so different three minutes earlier though, Thomas Orr missing a huge chance for Stranraer as his goal-bound effort was blocked by former Hibee Daryll Duffy.
Boyle added insult to injury with a brilliant goal. Doidge’s excellent cross was well-met by Nisbet, who’s header onto the post was blasted into the top corner by the Australian international. He added a second nine minutes from time, dispatching a penalty after Porteous was fouled in the box. Here are three things we learned from the match.
If you’d succeed at first
It was a test of patience for Hibs by the sea but one they passed with flying colours in the end. Fleming was well-worked throughout the afternoon despite it taking 38 minutes for Hibs to break the deadlock. They could have scored another two or three.
The reason Hibs didn’t was because of the Stranraer goalkeeper who was in fine form. He made a couple of excellent one-handed saves while he was unfortunate not to prevent Boyle’s first goal after responding to Nisbet’s initial effort. He kept the score down.
All of the lower league teams are now out of the Scottish Cup as we head to the final eight. It wasn’t without them providing scares, but it will be an all-Premiership quarter-final bout for the first time since the 1968/69 tournament, quite a staggering feat.
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