Hibernian 4 Falkirk 3 match report: Hibs can lift final blues after Leigh Griffiths double

After extra-time; score at 90min 3-3

hampden park

So Hibernian's turbulent relationship with the Scottish Cup continues. It has been 113 years since the Edinburgh club won the tournament and just 11 months since they were humiliated by city rivals Hearts in last season's final, and for much of this coruscating semi-final it appeared their misery would be prolonged.

They trailed 3-0 at the break, the defensive frailties that scarred the Easter Road side's last outing at Hampden exploited by a Falkirk team whose average age of 22 was disfigured by 37-year-old Darren Dods.

However, Gary Holt's side wilted, their vigour drained by the expansive pitch and oppressive occasion and their dreams of a final against either Celtic or Dundee United shattered by Leigh Griffiths. The Hibernian striker, who scored the winner at this stage last term, missed a penalty at 3-1 but his stunning winner with five minutes of extra-time left condemned Holt and his shattered players to defeat in the manager's first game in charge.

Little over an hour-and-a-half earlier, Holt had stood shaking his head on the touchline, scarcely able to believe how the opening minutes of his tenure had unfolded. Falkirk, too, had been beaten the last time they played at Hampden, losing to Celtic in the semi-final of last season's League Cup, but showed none of the apprehension that hobbled Hibs. Indeed, it took just six minutes for the First Division side to take the lead. Lyle Taylor's cutback skipped out of Blair Alston's reach, but rolled into the path of 17-year-old Craig Sibbald, who calmly scored.

Wounds that, after 11 months, were only beginning to heal among the 17,000 Hibs supporters had been opened within minutes. Surely not again? Their players, four of whom started in May, seemed similarly spooked and Falkirk sensed as much. Sibbald speared a deep free-kick into the Hibs area, panic ensued and the ball fell to another 17-year-old, Conor McGrandles. His hooked delivery into the six-yard box should have been dealt with but, as Paul Cairney hesitated, Jay Fulton stole in front of him to nudge past Ben Williams.

The goalkeeper threw his arms up in despair at the defending and he was left exposed again on the half-hour. Alston won a challenge and the ball squirted to Taylor, whose low shot was saved by the goalkeeper but only into the path of Alston, who rolled in the rebound.

At that stage, the pain had got too much for some Hibs fans, who streamed out of the ground with the spectre of another 5-1 looming. "I'd have done the same," said a rueful Holt. "But I told the boys at half-time Hibs would come out with all guns blazing." He was right.

Leigh Griffiths and Alex Harris began to impose themselves and hauled their side back into contention six minutes after the break. The latter had already hit the frame of the goal twice when his 30-yard lash took a decisive flick against Dods and deceived the goalkeeper.

Suddenly, Falkirk's inexperience began to show. Their young legs tired and rashness crept into their hitherto composed play as Hibs took command. Griffiths headed over from five yards, then spurned an even clearer chance after Stewart Murdoch was adjudged to have tripped Danny Handling in the area. His penalty was low and hard, but Michael McGovern saved, then thwarted Eoin Doyle's rebound. Griffiths, though, would not be denied for long. Ryan McGivern released 18-year-old Harris down the left and he slid the ball in for Hibs' top scorer to plant past McGovern.

With 12 minutes left and just a one-goal deficit, Hibs were transformed. Falkirk, minds now as exhausted as their bodies, buckled. No one closed down Doyle as he strode forward, leaving him time and space to skid a low shot into the net with seven minutes of regulation time remaining.

The prospect a further half-hour was almost too exhausting to contemplate, with even referee Iain Brines replaced after pulling up lame. Hibs kept at it, though. Griffiths had a legitimate effort disallowed for offside before he edged Hibs ahead, gathering the ball 30 yards from goal after his own corner was cleared and rasping a stunning strike across McGovern and into the net. "I've not experienced anything like that in my life," Pat Fenlon, the Hibs manager, said. His team have, though, and face having to do so all over again next month.

Hibernian (4-2-3-1): Williams; Clancy, McPake, Hanlon, McGivern; Claros, Thomson (Taiwo, 65); Harris, Robertson (Handling, 32), Cairney (Doyle, 46); Griffiths.

Falkirk (4-1-4-1): McGovern; Duffie, Dods, Flynn, Kingsley; Murdoch; J Fulton (Weatherston, 73), Sibbald, Alston (Grant, 65), McGrandles (Higgins, 78); Taylor.

Man of the match Griffiths (Hibernian)

Match rating 8/10

Referee Iain Brines.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Sheeran arrives at the 56th annual Grammy Awards earlier this year
musicYes, that would be Ed Sheeran, according to the BBC
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor