Hibernian 4-0 Berwick Rangers
Berwick’s dream of reaching their first ever Scottish Cup semi-final were dashed when they were beaten by Hibernian at Easter Road this afternoon.
Two goals in a two-minute spell midway through the first half put the Edinburgh side in the driving seat and in the second half they added another two to book their place in the last four.
Berwick were trying to reach the last four of the cup for the first time in their history and it was a case of deja vu as they came face to face with Hibs, exactly 35 years to the day since they last met in the quarter-finals in 1980.
But history was against the Shielfield outfit as they had never beaten the capital side in any competitive fixture, and they had also failed to score a goal against them.
Prior to the game Berwick player-manager Colin Cameron described it as their ‘cup final.’ He called on his players to go out and make a name for themselves in front of the Sky Sports cameras. Cheered on by over 800 Berwick fans in the 11,000-plus crowd, the Rangers players were greeted by dozens of black and gold balloons as they took to the pitch.
Cameron missed the game after picking up a thigh strain against Albion Rovers the week previous, whilst Steven Notman was declared fit after a recent knee injury, which had kept him out of the three previous matches - all of which Rangers had lost - and he was reinstated to the starting line-up. Devon Jacobs and Ross Gray also returned to the team with Darren Lavery on the bench.
Hibs meanwhile, were without Martin Boyle and Keith Watson as both were cup-tied having played for Dundee and Dundee United earlier in the competition, and the three players with Berwick connections - skipper Liam Craig, Jordan Forster and Danny Handling - were all named as substitutes.
The teams went into the match with contrasting form - Hibs were unbeaten in 13 and sitting second in the Championship, whist Rangers had slipped to ninth in the second division.
Berwick made a decent start and David Gold glanced a header wide from a Paul Willis cross after three minutes, whilst Lee Currie shot over with a volley.
But Hibs also threatened with Scott Robertson pulling a shot inches wide after a good build-up whilst Billy Bald had to save at the second attempt from a Dylan McGeouch shot.
The home side started to grow in confidence and the breakthrough came after 26 minutes when Jason Cummings slipped the ball past Bald on the left after taking a pass from Lewis Stevenson.
And Stevenson himself made it 2-0 less than two minutes later when he shrugged off a challenge from Lee Currie on the edge of the box and fired low past Bald.
Dominique Malonge then shot wide and Fraser Fyvie blasted over as Hibs started to turn the screw whilst at the other end Willis and Currie both pulled shots wide as Rangers tried to get themselves back in contention before the break.
At the start of the second half Berwick began the brighter and ex-Hibee David Gold got in behind the home defence, but his shot had no power and it was a comfortable take for Mark Oxley. A Currie effort also just drifted wide when he got on the end of a long pass from Gold.
But Hibs were still dangerous and there was a warning for Berwick when David Gray headed against the post from a corner. Bald then had to make a good save to deny Malonga, with Jonny Fairbairn making a good clearance with a diving header.
In 66 minutes Hibs made it 3-0 when substitute Sam Stanton steered the ball into the net from close range after Bald made a save from Malonga on the left and pushed the ball into his path.
Bald was called into action again to push away a well struck free kick from Cummings and he also saved from Craig with a shot from distance, just seconds after being introduced as a substitute. Craig also forced Bald into making a good fingertip save with a shot from the edge of the box, but the keeper had no chance when Hibs made it 4-0 after 80 minutes with Liam Fontaine powering in a header from a corner on the right.
Gold cut in from the left and shot wide as Berwick continued to show some fight, but by that stage Hibs were already home and dry.
Almost right at the death substitute Djedje was almost presented with a gilt-edged chance with a short back-pass from Fairbairn, but Bald managed to race off his line and clear the danger.
Hibernian: Oxley, Gray, Fontaine, Hanlon, Stevenson, Robertson, Allan (Stanton 64), Malonga (Djedje 80), McGeouch (Craig 74), Fyvie, Cumming.
Berwick Rangers: Bald, Jacobs, Young, Fairbairn, Drummond, Gold, Gray (Lavery 64), Notman, Currie (Maxwell 74), Willis, Russell (Henderson 86).
Referee: Bobby Madden.