Hearts and St Mirren player ratings: Attacking prowess, one player who didn't deserve to lose, unlikely heroes

There were numerous stand-outs in what was a gripping Scottish Cup quarter-final between Hearts and St Mirren at Tynecastle.

Beni Baningime scored his first goal for Hearts in an entertaining Scottish Cup tie at Tynecastle.
Beni Baningime scored his first goal for Hearts in an entertaining Scottish Cup tie at Tynecastle.

The magnitude of the occasion, alongside the novelty of a Saturday night kick-off under the lights and a sizeable, noisy travelling support, seemed to imbue the players with extra energy. This was a tie that crackled from start to finish.

That was down, in the main, to the work of both teams’ attacking players. Hearts looked capable of scoring most times they ventured forward. In Ellis Simms, they have modern-day No 9 who can do a bit of everything. The Everton loanee was the focal point in a 4-2-3-1, allowing Ben Woodburn, Liam Boyce and Barrie McKay to work away behind him. Simms was rewarded for his excellent work with a goal on 85 minutes.

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McKay and Woodburn continue to be Hearts’ most creative players. Woodburn assisted their second goal and the duo constantly probed away, looking to create chances. Boyce won’t get the same number of goals as he is accustomed to playing behind the main striker, but he was intelligent foil for his attacking team-mates. Aaron McEneff scored and got an assist in 25 minutes he was on and was a shrewd substitution by manager Robbie Neilson.

Connor Ronan did not deserve to be on the losing side after his wonder-strike for St Mirren.
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Two unlikely goalscorers

Beni Baningime and Peter Haring were tasked with anchoring the Hearts midfield, yet both ended up on the scoresheet by making fine runs into the penalty box. Baningime will be delighted to net for the first time, while Haring made sure usual deep-lying midfielder Cammy Devlin was not missed too much.

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At the back, Craig Halkett was a rock despite an early head-knock and while Hearts looked vulnerable down the flanks in the first-half, they shored up after the break. In fact, Nathaniel Atkinson grew into the match and was a serious threat going forward.

St Mirren played their part, too. Eamonn Brophy led the line well and showed great awareness to guide home his goal. Jordan Jones and Greg Kiltie were constant pests on the flanks, with the Buddies looking to overload at every opportunity. Scott Tanser was a threat until he succumbed to injury, while Richard Tait assisted Brophy’s goal.

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The final word must go to Connor Ronan, however. The Irishman on loan at St Mirren from Wolves is making a name for himself with goals and he scored a stunner here, a long-range effort that left Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon helpless. It was a goal that didn’t deserve to be on the losing side.

How the players rated

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Hearts: Gordon 6; Atkinson 7, Halkett 8, Kingsley 7, Halliday 6; Haring 7, Baningime 7; Woodburn 7 (McEneff 66, 7), Boyce 7, McKay 7 (Sibbick, 90+3, n/a); Simms 8.

St Mirren: Alnwick 6; Tait 6, Shaughnessy 6, Dunne 6, Tanser 6 (Fraser 53, 3); Kiltie 7 (Henderson 75, 2), Ronan 7, Gogic 6 (Grieve 75, 2), Power 6, Jones 7; Brophy 7.

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