By Craig Turnbull at Hampden Park
Stand-in goalkeeper Conrad Logan was Hibernian’s hero as they secured their place in the Scottish Cup final after winning 4-2 in a dramatic penalty shoot out against Dundee United.
The big goalkeeper had a big point to prove and he did so emphatically, producing a terrific performance, saving two penalties from Blair Spittal and Billy McKay in the shootout, and denying United three times from one-on-one positions during the game.
Jason Cummings, who earlier had missed a spotkick for Hibs in regulation time with a panenka-style penalty, turned from villain to hero as he dispatched the decisive kick to send the Hibs fans into raptures, dreaming of ending their 114-year Hampden hoodoo.
But there was no doubt about the man of the match. Logan hadn’t played a first-team game since Dec 2014 for Rochdale but was drafted in for the suspended Mark Oxley and his pivotal saves give Hibs a chance to end their Cup heartache against either Rangers or Celtic in the final.
They should have taken the lead though as Cummings spurned a glorious opportunity from the spot, chipping his panenka-style penalty over the bar after Donaldson was penalised for handball in the box.
“I wanted to strangle him initially,” Stubbs said after the game.
“The only thing I would say to him is if he’s practiced that penalty in training and done it before then I’ll go fair enough but I’ll be telling him he won’t be doing that in semi-finals or finals again.
“If it goes in everybody is talking about how cool and calm collected he is but if it doesn’t people can say you look stupid.
He added: “I can’t question him he’s got bundles of personality and character, it’s not easy and it takes a certain type to take a penalty.
“I’ve seen experienced players playing in the Premier League at 35 years old and as soon as it’s penalties they quake in their boots.”
Stubbs was also full of praise for Logan.
“At the end of the game we were walking off and he thanks me. It was the other way, round, I was thanking him.
He was obviously thanking me for going with him,” he said.
“It wasn’t an easy decision becauise I could have easily gone with Otso but my gut call with what I had seen, he is a really good communicator and as a defender I can relate to that.”
United boss Mixu Paatelainen believes the result was harsh on his side.
“I’m totally gutted for the boys,” he said.
“The vast majority of the match we controlled the game, we were the better team and we passed the ball. We created great goal scoring opportunities so to lose in the end on penalties is really disappointing.”