In the end, the best of Irvine Meadow did not unduly trouble Hibernian. But then they were not overcome either, and this refusal to be cowed was at the heart of a performance that brought a little warmth to the spirit of the old game.
This was the first time a team from the juniors level had faced a Premier League side in the Scottish Cup, and Irvine Meadow, from Ayrshire, were bold enough to sporadically assert themselves. Brian McGinty, a former Rangers and St Mirren striker, even hit the upright with a well-conceived shot from the edge of the area during an ambitious opening spell.
There was, though, an inevitability to Hibs' opening goal, and it came when David Wotherspoon, the full-back, delivered a cross which Alexander Ryan diverted towards his own net with Derek Riordan applying the final touch. A vicious strike from the edge of the area just before half-time by Merouane Zemmama doubled the home side's advantage.
If this fourth-round game was, then, beyond the reach of Irvine Meadow, they continued to apply themselves and David Lowing drove a free-kick from 20 yards just wide at the start of the second half.
The cold snap meant that Irvine Meadow had not played a meaningful fixture for a month and fatigue began to diminish some of their resolve. The third goal was an almost carefree move by Hibs, with Paul Hanlon, the left-back, ambling into the penalty area before firing a shot across Michael Wardope, the Irvine Meadow goalkeeper, and into the net.
"Let's give them all the credit," said the Hibs manager, John Hughes. "They competed very well and made a right good go of it. I've seen us better, but we're in the next round."Reuse content