Hibernian 1 – 5 Heart of Midlothian
The 2012 Scottish Cup Final received the biggest build up many have ever experienced to a match and neither Rangers nor Celtic were anywhere to be seen. Saturday was Edinburgh’s day as 52,000 football fans travelled down the M8 to Hampden Park.
Labelled as the ‘Salt n Sauce Cup Final’, it was a day that many fans were anticipating and dreading for the month between the semi finals and the final. Hearts fans were confident of lifting their cup as they were undefeated in their last ten games against their city neighbours. Hibs finishing second bottom of the Scottish Premier League filled the Jambo’s fans with confidence.
Meanwhile, the Hibees turned to fate for their belief. It has been 110 years since they last won the Scottish Cup and they believed it was their time, it was their turn, to win the Scottish Cup again and when better to do it than against their biggest rivals. Both sets of fans feared losing almost as much as they wanted to win the match which meant there was a fear factor added in to the mix.
In the immediate build up to kick off the fans were excellent, the Hearts fans swinging their scarves above their heads whilst the Hibs fans waved their green and white flags creating a fantastic image and atmosphere. Sadly the game was to be much more one sided than the evenly matched crowd.
Straight from the start the Jambo’s were on top and it was not long before they were ahead. With thirteen minutes on the clock Darren Barr pounced on a loose ball inside the six yard box to fire the favourites ahead. At odds of 50-1 he was not the most likely goalscorer but it was a goal worthy of a seasoned penalty box striker.
It was a more renowned striker who doubled Hearts lead in 26th minute as top goalscorer Rudi Skacel had his shot from the edge of the box deflected into the net. The deflection did not cause the ball to deviate much from its original direction but it did make the ball dip past Hibs goalkeeper Mark Brown as he dived across goal.
Hearts were dominating the game all over the pitch whilst Hibs struggled to get out of their own half for any extended period of time. Suso Santana came close to adding a quick third as his shot beat Mark Brown in the Hibs goal but captain James McPake was on hand to turn it behind for corner. Ian Black was bossing the midfield whilst Isaiah Osbourne and Jorge Claros appeared to be letting the game pass them by.
Hibs manager Pat Fenlon was preparing a change in the midfield and some Hibs fans had already headed for the exit when Hibs got themselves back into the match. James McPake managed to get a toe on Tom Soares cross and put it past Jambo’s keeper Jamie McDonald, injecting the life back into the match.
The Hibees goal in the 40th minute gave their fans renewed hope that their team could come out in the second half and overturn their neighbours, whose fans were already winding them up. Sadly for Hibs the course of the game was changed significantly when Pa Saikou Kujabi was adjudged to have fouled Hearts winger Suso Santana in the box by referee Craig Thomson. The referee awarded the Jambo’s a penalty and sent Kujabi off for a second bookable offence although replays showed that Hibs were hard done by as the foul had occurred outside of the penalty box.
It was left back Danny Grainger who stepped up to fire the spot kick into the top corner and restore Hearts two goal lead. Their fans were still celebrating when the game was put beyond doubt two minutes later as Ryan McGowan capitalised on more calamitous Hibs defending to put them 4-1 ahead with a close range header.
The fourth goal proved to be the catalyst for Hibs fans to head for the exits with their heads bowed. They were unable to watch their team collapse without a fight, listen to the goading coming from their rival fans or even contemplate what the final result could be as there was still thirty minutes remaining.
However, the rout was completed with 75 minutes gone as Rudi Skacel scored his second of the match, which could also be his last for the club. Skacel’s shot from the edge of the area evaded the despairing sliding challenge from James McPake and went in after hitting the post leaving the Hibs ‘keeper stranded.
Hearts maintained possession comfortably for the last fifteen minutes to win the Scottish Cup with an ease that caught everybody by surprise. Hibs failed to turn up for what is likely to be the biggest game of the players’ careers. It was a huge letdown for both the fans and the manager who had been looking for a much better performance and hoping for a better outcome. After the game Hibs manager Pat Fenlon, who was sent to the stand during the match, told the BBC ‘It was desperately disappointing, we never turned up. No complaints’.
Saturday 19th May will be forever remembered by everyone involved with Hearts as they day they beat their city neighbours 5-1 to win the Scottish Cup. Meanwhile the Hibees wait to lift the Scottish Cup ticks over to 111 years and counting. It was the Jambo’s day and they will never let the Hibs fans forget it.