Alex McLeish dismissed any talks of hoodoos when he led Hibernian out at Hampden Park last May, but yesterday he condemned his old team to another year without the Scottish Cup.
If the Edinburgh club struggled to believe that 100 years without the trophy they last won in 1902 was more than coincidence, their 4-1 fourth-round defeat at Ibrox to Rangers – just six weeks after the latter poached McLeish – will be hard to swallow.
The new Rangers manager was rewarded for his faith in restoring Tore Andre Flo to the side, as the Norwegian striker scored twice to take his total to 21 goals this season.
Flo's 22nd-minute opener was cancelled out by a fine solo effort from Grant Brebner, but Peter Lovenkrands restored Rangers' lead with the last kick of the first half. Flo then stabbed in a 64th-minute goal from close range, before Ulrik Laursen's injury reduced Hibs to 10 men and allowed substitute Billy Dodds to inflict a late left-foot finish.
There was no shortage of shocks elsewhere as First Division sides made their Premier League opponents suffer. Top of the bill were those perennial giant-killers Inverness Caledonian Thistle, who went to Tynecastle and beat Hearts, the 1998 winners, 3-1.
Even though Ross Tokely's 25th-minute goal for Inverness was cancelled out by Gary Wales' 44th-minute equaliser from close range, Dennis Wyness struck a venomous 57th-minute shot from 18 yards and then David Bagen delivered a composed finish after 73 minutes for the Highlanders to prompt memories of their triumph at Celtic two years ago.
Ayr United, semi-finalists two years ago, thumped Dunfermline 3-0 at home, thanks to goals from James Grady, John Robertson and an own goal from Gus MacPherson which rubbed salt into the wounds of the top-flight club.
Partick Thistle could be in the Premier next term, and the First Division pace-setters led Dundee through Scott McLean's header, only for Quique Torres to thump in a 25-yard equaliser. They try again on Wednesday week.Reuse content