Cup holders Hibs show intent by crushing minnows

Two things football fans of a certain vintage will find strange '“ Hibernian are beginning to really relish trips to Tynecastle and Scottish Cup days have become something for the Leith side to savour.

Winger Chris Humphrey turns away after scoring Hibs third goal in the first 25 minutes of the match against Bonnyrigg Rose on Saturday. Picture: SNS
Winger Chris Humphrey turns away after scoring Hibs third goal in the first 25 minutes of the match against Bonnyrigg Rose on Saturday. Picture: SNS

Revelling in the role of cup holders, they will undoubtedly face a tougher test if rivals Hearts find a way past Raith Rovers and they have to return to Gorgie in the next round but, against non-league 
Bonnyrigg Rose they, were gifted an afternoon they could enjoy from start to finish.

The Midlothian side were distraught to go behind just 11 minutes into the action, the juniors’ keeper, Michael Andrews, admitting he had apologised to his team-mates after he failed to deal with Andrew Shinnie’s strike.

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“It’s one of those things for a goalkeeper. It happens. After that it was about trying to keep the score down.”

But, the second came just three minutes later. James Keatings capitalised on the space in front of the back line to loft his dipping effort over the Rose rearguard. The keeper had set off on his road to retribution and made a fine stop from Lewis Stevenson in the 24th minute but the unmarshalled Chris Humphrey pounced on the parried ball to net his first goal for the team.

There was a slight moment of respite for Rose when Keiran McGachie tumbled in the area. It left Hibs furious but offered his colleague Dean Hoskins a wonderful opportunity to coolly slot the ball past Ross Laidlaw from the spot.

The Hibs keeper had replaced the injured Ofir Marciano, who had been taken to hospital with a suspected cracked rib, but it was virtually the only time Laidlaw was involved. Instead he watched as Hibs upped the quality and rattled in another five goals.

Jason Cummings weighed in with a couple, one of which was executed with flair, Keatings doubled his personal tally, Lewis Stevenson got on the scoresheet and then, in the 81st minute, Jordon Forster wrapped things up. It was a brutal way for the minnows to end a run that had captured the imagination and the romance of the cup but Andrews said they could still hold their heads high.

“It’s a hard one,” he admitted. “But I think the boys need to remember how far we’ve come. We had to win the league, get through the first few rounds and then show what we can do in the two games against Dumbarton. We were just up against a massive team playing fantastically well. We didn’t want to concede as many as that for our confidence, but I don’t think we can be embarrassed.”

They now return to the business of trying to win the league or the Scottish Junior Cup – they face Kilsyth Rangers on Saturday – as a way of gaining re-entry to this competition.

Hibs’ priority remains promotion to the Premiership but the demolition of Bonnyrigg Rose served as a statement of intent – they also want to retain the Scottish Cup.

“I wasn’t here when the lads won the cup,” said Humphrey, “but you can see what winning this tournament meant to everyone. The gaffer spoke to us on Friday about it. This club holds the Scottish Cup and we want to keep it. We are not going to give it away lightly so in every cup game we are going to give it our all to try and retain it.”