Hearts claim place in final

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The Independent Online
Heart of Midlothian 3 Dundee 1

A sturdy performance against First Division opposition won Hearts the dubious honour of a Coca-Cola Cup final meeting with Rangers, who eased past Dunfermline on Tuesday night with a 6-1 victory.

As they attempt to win their first trophy in 34 years, the Edinburgh club will no doubt reflect on their last final, in the Tennents Scottish Cup last May, in which Rangers inflicted upon them a 5-1 drubbing. Such worries will, however, wait for another day for one half of Edinburgh, who are this morning anticipating a trip to Celtic Park for the final.

In addition to the obvious reward of a place in the final, Hearts were also motivated by the desire to exact revenge on the side which knocked them out of this tournament last season. Dundee, meanwhile, were heartened by the fact that they had reached this point by wins over Dundee United and Aberdeen - both from the Premier Division.

Hearts suffered the loss of John Robertson, their prolific goalscorer, through injury after just 11 minutes. But that blow was softened when his replacement, Darren Beckford, the former Norwich and Oldham man, opened the scoring in the 20th minute. Billy Thomson was forced to save a back pass from Dariusz Adamczuk and the ball fell to Beckford, who scored on the rebound after his first shot had been blocked by the goalkeeper.

Dundee twice went close through George Shaw and Paul Tosh before Hearts scored a second goal nine minutes after their first effort. Willie Young, the referee, had no hesitation in awarding a penalty when Stuart Callaghan was tripped by Adamczuk. Colin Cameron sent the ball into the top corner.

Hearts increased their lead on the hour mark with the game's best move, which saw the action sweep from one penalty area to the other before Callaghan's cross was headed down by Beckford for Stephane Paille, their French trialist, to finish in style.

In the 73rd minute Jim Hamilton scored for Dundee from close range, but although he hit the woodwork with five minutes left his side failed to mount a serious fightback.

Heart of Midlothian (4-4-2): Rousset; Weir, McManus, McPherson (Ritchie, 75), Pointon; Cameron, Bruno, Mackay, Callaghan; Paille (Goss, 80), Robertson (Beckford, 11).

Dundee (3-5-2): Thompson; Raeside (Anderson, 80), Smith, Tully; Adamczuk, Tosh, Bain (Magee, 64), Charnley, McQueen (Farningham, 64); Shaw, Hamilton.

Referee: W Young (Clarkston).