Zemmama screamer sinks brave Meadow

Hibernian 3 Irvine Meadow 0
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The Independent Football

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."