Hibernian 3 v 1 Ayr United
The Honest Men exited the Scottish Cup after being defeated 3-1 by Hibernian at Easter Road in the quarter finals of the tournament. A superb strike by McGinn and a penalty by Cummings early in the first half put the home side on easy street before United replied through a spectacular goal from McGuffie. Ayr’s hopes were dampened when McKenna was sent off for a rash challenge right on halftime and substitute Keatings sealed the win late into the second half.
With the opening few minutes showing nothing between the teams, Hibs scored with their first chance of the match. On 6 mins McGinn made space for himself on the edge of the box before curling a shot into the bottom right-hand corner giving Fleming no chance.
It went from bad to worse for Ayr on 12 mins when Meggatt was deemed to have fouled Shinnie just inside the box. Cummings took the penalty and coolly slotted the ball down the middle to double the home side’s lead.
With 14 mins gone Ayr had their first chance. Brian Gilmour midfielder took a drive on the half volley from 20 yards out but unfortunately the ball looped harmlessly over the bar.
On 16 mins, a Shinnie effort on the Ayr goal from inside the box was well saved by Fleming to keep Hibs at bay and Ayr in the match.
2 mins later and United’s Boyle had a chance to halve the deficit. The defender strode forward and picked the ball up on the left, then took a shot which had Marciano in the Hibs goals scrambling, but the ball looped just over.
Ayr were to get themselves back in the game on 32 mins through a wonder goal from McGuffie. Harkins knocked down a header into the path of McGuffie and he let fly from 25 yards out with a crisp volley right into the top left hand corner. A sumptuous strike and Ayr were right back in it.
Right on halftime, with Ayr growing in confidence, the Honest Men were handed a blow right with the dismissal of McKenna. With McGinn trying to break into the box McKenna attempted to blast the ball away but the slightest of touches by the Hibs midfielder moved it forward. Instead of making contact with the ball, McKenna made solid and heavy contact with McGinn and referee Nick Walsh had no hesitation in showing the red card.
If things had been difficult, this gave Ayr a mountain to climb in the second half.
Hibs went close to increasing their lead on 55 mins. Shinnie ran onto a loose ball in the box and just when it looked like he had the simplest of tasks of poking it home, Meggatt dived in with a well-timed tackle to block the ball.
3 mins later and it was Cummings’ turn to try his luck with his fizzing drive from 25 yards flashing wide of the left-hand post.
Hibs continued to press for their third goal and almost got it on 63 mins. A low cross into the box deflected off Meggatt into the path of Fleming who did brilliantly to palm the ball away from point blank range.
73 mins gone and Hibs thought they had forced home their third goal but it was ruled out for offside. A Cummings drive from just inside the area deflected into the path of Martin Boyle whose shot bounced off the bar and over the line, Boyle was however in an offside position and the goal did not stand.
After a brave and battling rear-guard action, Ayr hearts were broken on 78 mins when Keatings finally got the crucial third goal. Gray’s cross from the right was met by Keatings at the back post and his powerful header went in off the bar to seal the tie.
81 mins on the clock and Hibernian were pressing for a fourth and almost got it when Balatoni was forced to head an effort off the line from Shinnie. 4 mins later and Keatings then had a shot from 30 yards which scraped just wide of the right-hand post.
Ayr can now focus on survival in the Championship and now welcome Falkirk to Somerset Park on Saturday.
Referee: Nick Walsh
Match Report: AUmedia
Marciano, Gray, Forster, Ambrose, Stevenson, Bartley, McGinn, Shinnie, Boyle, Holt, Cummings. Substitutes Laidlaw (GK), Crane, McLean, Fyvie, Martin, Keatings, Graham.
Fleming, Devlin, Boyle, Gimour, Moore, Harkins, Meggat, McGuffie, Balatoni, Docherty, McKenna. Substitutes Hart (GK), Rose, Forrest, McKenzie, Wardrope, Balfour, L Murphy.