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Saturday January 18, 2020

William Hill Scottish Cup round 4

Heart of Midlothian




Andy Irving 7

Sean Clare 54

Steven Naismith 58

Euan Henderson 71

Craig Halkett 90+1



Hearts inflicted the Diamonds’ heaviest defeat of the season with a second-half barrage which ended a long-running sequence of Scottish Cup successes over the Edinburgh side.


Josh Kerr replaced Kurtis Roberts in a visiting starting line-up who suffered heavy defeat at Tynecastle.


The first half of the tie had been particularly cautious, with Hearts opening the scoring in a rather fortuitous manner. David Hutton had done well to tackle Conor Washington as he raced in on goal. From the resulting corner Andrew Irving played a neat one-two with skipper Steven Naismith before sending a low curling ball into the box which made its way into the far corner of the net for the opening goal.


As the home side pressed for a second, some decent defending by Kieran Millar as well as a poor miss from close range by John Souttar saw the lead remain at just the single goal.


After 18 minutes Paul McKay could only flick a Leon McCann corner wide of the Hearts goal from ten yards out.


During Airdrie’s best spell with 21 minutes gone, Callum Smith’s cross from the right struck a Hearts arm with any shouts ignored then Kyle MacDonald’s powerful follow-up cross was blocked close to the Hearts goal with keeper Joel Pereira grabbing the loose ball as Calum Gallagher slid in.


McKay’s throw on 28 minutes was flicked on and Dale Carrick showed instant control before seeing his netbound volley from inside the box deflected over the Hearts crossbar.


After half an hour, Josh Kerr made a good block on substitute Ben Garuccio’s goal attempt after a good jinking run into the box, sending the ball for a corner.


Craig Halkett fired wide of Hutton’s goal a minute later after another well-worked corner by the home side.


As Hearts threatened again, Hutton’s reactions on 35 minutes saw him claw out a dangerous cross into the box and gather the ball at the second attempt.


As the first half ended Naismith and Washington were wasteful from inside the penalty box while claims for a spot-kick by the home side were waved aside after a challenge on Washington.


McKay turned on a ball into the box three minutes from the break but sent his attempt wide with an offside flag being shown in any event.


After the interval the home side dominated, with Hearts’ Euan Henderson then Lewis Moore forcing Hutton into decent saves while Naismith had the ball in the net on 52 minutes after another Hutton save only to see it disallowed for offside.


A cross from Garuccio floated to the Airdrie back post and Callum Fordyce could only head the ball to the edge of the box where Sean Clare latched on to the loose ball and struck a wonderful volley to double the advantage.


A run from Henderson took him past a number of Airdrie players on 57 minutes, reaching the goal-line before cutting the ball back for Naismith to add a third goal.


Airdrie had a great chance to get on the scoresheet on 70 minutes after a superb run by Smith down the right, his cutback setting up substitute Craig Thomson in front of goal, but his shot lacked power and was straight at Pereira who gathered.


Airdrie were indebted to Hutton for a succession of saves but he could little on 71 minutes as Naismith ran into the box before cutting the ball back for Henderson to score number four.


As he tried to give the excellent travelling support some consolation, Sean Crighton rose to meet McCann’s corner in 76 minutes and sent a header for goal only see Pereira gather the ball on his line.

Craig Halkett ended the scoring in stoppage time, volleying the ball in from close range from an Irving corner.


Despite the heavy loss, the fans and players displayed their respective thanks as the cup journey ended for another season, with the priority now shifting to more important back-to-back home league fixtures.

John O'Brien at Tynecastle Park.

Match photography by John Steven. Click images to view full size.

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