Hibernian 0 Heart Of Midlothian 4: Hartley's hat-trick haunts old boys Hibs

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The Independent Online

Paul Hartley carried Hearts past nine-man Hibernian with a superb hat-trick at Hampden Park yesterday and into the final of the Tennent's Scottish Cup.

The Scotland international, and former Hibs player, who has scored six times against Tony Mowbray's men this season, made it a memorable day for the Jambos with three good strikes.

It was a miserable day for Hibernian, who had Ivan Sproule sent off for stamping on Saulius Mikoliunas before Edgaras Jankauskas embarrassed Zbignier Malkowski to add a third goal to Hartley's first two, nipping the ball away from Malkowski to sidefoot into an empty net.

Gary Smith was also sent off late on, for pulling down Michal Pospisil, and Hartley stepped up from the spot to complete his hat-trick, emulating a feat accomplished by Billy Dodds for Rangers in 2000.

Hearts are now red-hot favourites to repeat their success of 1998 when they face Second Division champions Gretna on 13 May.

"It will be the first final for a lot of the players and to beat our rivals is fantastic," Hartley said.

"To play the way we did is exceptional and it's probably the pinnacle of my club career - it doesn't get much better than scoring a hat-trick in a semi-final at Hampden. The boys were right up for the game - I could sense all week we were going to win."

Hearts' interim manager, Valdas Ivanauskas, who is in charge following the recent departure of Graham Rix, said: "It's been difficult with the change of manager [but this victory] shows the character we have in the squad."

His Hibernian counterpart, Tony Mowbray, was disappointed with the manner in which his side conceded three times in the second half.

"There will be a lot of fans heading home disappointed," Mowbray said. "We had an opportunity but things didn't turn out as we would have liked with players being available. However, we competed well for long periods of the game.

"When you break down and analyse the three we conceded in the second half, they were very poor from our point of view."

On the double dismissal of Sproule and Smith, Mowbray added: "We are disappointed to finish with nine in such a big game but we probably didn't have enough out there to win."

Goals: Hartley (28) 0-1; Hartley (59) 0-2; Jankauskas (81) 0-3; Hartley (88 pen) 0-4.

Hibernian: Malkowski; Whittaker, Caldwell, Hogg, Murphy; Thomson, Glass (Konte, 62), Gary Smith, Fletcher (McCluskey, 82); Benjelloun (Konde, 70), Sproule. Substitutes not used: Simon Brown, Shields.

Sent off: Sproule (78), Gary Smith (88).

Booked: Hogg, Thomson.

Heart of Midlothian: Gordon; Neilson, Pressley (Fyssas, 45), Webster, Goncalves (Mikoliunas, 69); Cesnauskis, Aguiar, Hartley, Skacel; Elliot (Pospisil, 82), Jankauskas. Substitutes not used: Banks, Camazzola.

Referee: S Dougal (Scotland).

Booked: Elliot, Gordon, Aguiar, Hartley.

Attendance: 43,180.

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