Hearts beat Inverness CT to reach Scottish Cup final – report & highlights | CTlive.info - South Africa News#amp #beat #CT #Cup #final #hearts #highlights #Inverness #reach #report #Scottish
Hearts secured their 15th Scottish Cup final appearance with three second-half goals against Scottish Championship side Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Craig Levein’s side await the winners of Sunday’s semi-final between Aberdeen and holders Celtic.
Uche Ikpeazu fired in just after the break, with John Souttar volleying the second – both from Olly Lee corners.
Sean Clare secured the victory from the penalty spot after Ikpeazu was brought down by Mark Ridgers.
Victory over the Championship promotion-seekers eased the pressure on Hearts manager Craig Levein.
Hearts slipped to sixth in the Premiership behind Hibernian after losing to their Edinburgh rivals in last weekend’s derby at Tynecastle but were well worthy of a return to Hampden on 25 May.
Hearts batter Inverness into submission
That Levein was pitting his managerial wits against his former team-mate and Hearts legend John Robertson ensured that the Championship side would be well prepared for anything their opponents would throw at them tactically.
One defeat in seven outings since beating Dundee United the quarter-finals have just about secured Inverness CT’s place in the promotion play-offs and the 2015 winners started like a team full of confidence despite being underdogs.
The pressure was all on Hearts after three defeats in their last four and they had to survive a few early nervous moments inside their own penalty box before slowly but surely exerting their greater quality.
A Christophe Berra drive that was deflected over from in front of his own goal by Joe Chalmers ushered in a long period of dominance, but it took until the opening seconds of the second half before Hearts tested Ridgers, with Lee’s thundering long-range drive forcing a fingertip save from the goalkeeper.
Ikpeazu, having recovered from injury, was the focus for all Hearts’ efforts and it was him who forced in the opener. Lee found Jake Mulraney and, when the former Inverness CT winger’s low drive was deflected from in front of goal, the Englishman was first to react to score.
The second-tier side responded superbly and a curling Chalmers free-kick looked to be heading for the net until goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal tipped it on to the face of the bar. Jamie McCart also thought he had equalised when his clever chip over Zlamal found the net, but the offside flag had already gone up.
However, there was no way back once the Highlanders were undone from another Lee corner that found Souttar.
Hearts fans, who had voiced their disappointment at the half-time whistle, were now celebrating and, after Ikpeazu was brought down from Lee’s fine through ball, substitute Clare ensured their joy was complete from the penalty spot.
The Tynecastle side are now only 90 minutes away from lifting the Scottish Cup for a ninth time, and the first first since 2012.
‘Credit to MacPhee for set plays’ – analysis
Scotland Women head coach Shelley Kerr on BBC One Scotland
A lot of credit should go to Hearts assistant Austin MacPhee because he spends a lot of time on set-pieces – and that’s a lot of his job with Northern Ireland as well. He’s on the training pitch and he devises new set-plays all the time. I think he just edits and adapts others’ free-kicks and corners, but it certainly works for Hearts.
Former Hearts midfielder Michael Stewart on BBC One Scotland
When the second goal went in, that really killed the game. If you’ve only got two or three set plays then teams can very quickly get an idea of what you’re trying to do. They’ve done a number of them during the match and none of them are similar. You’ve got to be continually fresh with your ideas and Hearts clearly are that from set-plays and it’s paid off big-time.
Former Scotland striker Steven Thompson on BBC One Scotland
Inverness showed a good response to going 1-0 down, but their key players didn’t get involved enough. They will be disappointed because, for me, they didn’t show their best, but they have bigger fish to fry in terms of trying to get promotion from the Championship.