By Alison McConnell
For a game that took forever to get going, this entertaining tussle at Easter Road brought forth incredible drama as Hibs progressed to the semi-finals of the Viaplay League Cup at St Mirren’s expense. They will face Aberdeen at Hampden in November.
It was a topsy-truvy evening of Cup football as both sides had their noses in front at different stages – Scott Tanser had given Stephen Robinson’s side the lead just minutes before the break. Hibs responded with two goals in two minutes after the restart with Elie Youan and Dylan Vente turning the game in their favour.
Saints sub Keanu Baccus, however, gave the visitors a leveller out of nowehere before Hibs rallied again with Martin Boyle smashing an effort off the underside of the crossbar. The Australian internationalist added his second and Hibs’ fourth in the final minute to make sure of the Easter Road side’s passage to Hampden.
For a St Mirren side who had been unbeaten in their last ten games and are currently enjoying their best start to a season since 1948/49, it was a disappointing exit from a competition they had harboured quiet ambitions of claiming.
Hibs, though, will draw confidence from a display where they were able to rouse themselves after going behind with a Hampden date now looming.
The second-half of this game was in sharp contrast to the first. Boyle just missed getting on the end of a Joe Newell chipped ball into the back post while Alex Gogic had a close range effort saved by David Marshall but there was little of note in the opening minites to suggest the manner in which the game would play out.
Toyoshi Olusanya had the best chance of the game just after the half hour mark when he thought he had broken the deadlock only for his effort to drift just past Marshall’s right-hand post.
Hibs returned re-energised after the break with two goals in as many frantic second-half minutes turning the tie in their favour for the first time.
Youan pulled Nick Montgomery’s side back onto level terms before Vente put them into the lead.
Will Fish’s header had looked to be heading for goal before Youan stuck out a boot to make sure before Vente added another when he collected in the box unmarked and, with his back to goal, he turned and drilled a low effort into the back of the net.
As Hibs started to enjoy themselves, Boyle might have had a spectacular effort to add to the scoreline after he exhcnaged a short corner with Newwell before dribbling his way through the box before his effort was blocked.
Robinson rang the changes as he sought to find a way back into the tie with substitute Baccus coming up with leveller with a first time effort straight into the net.
St Mirren’s hope of a reprieve, however, was short-lived as Boyle added Hibs’ third when he lashed an effort off the underside of the bar to send Hibs’ fans home dreaming of Hampden.
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