Hearts' silver spirit rolls on

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The Independent Online


Hearts appear to have the glint of silverware in their eyes. It may be 39 years since the Edinburgh club last triumphed in the Scottish Cup, but yesterday they displayed the same spirit and commitment that led to a 4-2 win over Rangers in the last round, as they progressed to the semi- finals by beating Dundee United, the holders, 2-1.

They did so with two headed goals by John Millar, after falling behind to an early goal by Sergio, Dundee United's Brazilian striker. Their reward was a semi-final pairing with Airdrie, the only First Division team left in the competition, while in the other match Hibs will face Celtic. The Scottish Football Association will decide on dates and venues today. The way is still open for an all-Edinburgh final - an event which has not taken place for 99 years.

Hibs finally ended the dream of Stenhousemuir, the Second Division side who had already beaten St Johnstone and Aberdeen. After a goalless first half, Hibs scored four times to kill off the Warriors. Airdrie also scored four on their way past Raith Rovers in an untidy game which saw Raith have two players sent off. Celtic beat Kilmarnock 1-0 on Friday.

While the Cup quarter-final matches were being contested, there were also important League matches. In the battle to avoid relegation, Aberdeen and Partick Thistle drew 2-2 at Firhill. Aberdeen's position remains uncertain, with Thistle, the bottom club, two points behind but with two games in hand.

At the other end of the table, Rangers moved 16 points clear following a 2-2 draw with Falkirk at Ibrox, although given that they had almost complete domination for 90 minutes, the margin at the top should have been made greater.

Maurice Johnston came back to haunt Rangers by supplying the ammunition for Colin McDonald to score both the Falkirk goals, and but for the brilliance of Brian Laudrup, who scored Rangers' first goal and created their second, the champions might well have lost.

TENNENTS SCOTTISH CUP Semi-final draw: Airdrieonians v Hearts; Hibernian v Celtic.