Scottish Cup - Fifth Round

Heart of Midlothian 0-0 Hibernian

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Scottish Cup highlights: Hearts 0-0 Hibernian

Holders Hibernian took city rivals Hearts to a Scottish Cup fifth-round replay for a second successive season after a tense stalemate at Tynecastle.

Hearts almost got off to a flying start, but Esmael Goncalves shot straight at goalkeeper Ofir Marciano.

Chances were in short supply and it took until just before half-time for Jason Cummings to test Hearts goalkeeper Jack Hamilton.

Marciano denied Bjorn Johnsen as a game of poor quality went to a replay.

When the sides meet again on Wednesday, 22 February, Hibs will be hoping for a repeat of last season when they followed a 2-2 draw at Tynecastle with a 1-0 win before going on to beat Rangers in the final.

Neil Lennon's side not only denied Hearts a third-straight win but stretched their unbeaten run against their Edinburgh rivals to five games - and a 10th-straight game without defeat in all competitions.

Robust Hibs

Hibs have taken command at the top of the Championship, but Lennon showed his unhappiness at the loss of two home points by making five changes from the side that drew with Ayr United last weekend.

The manager's decision was also motivated by the state of a rutted Tynecastle pitch that resembled a badly maintained golf tee.

Lennon had warned pre-match that the match would be more "up and at them" and that was reflected in the starts handed to the more physical Jordon Forster in defence and Marvin Bartley in midfield.

Former Norwich City player Grant Holt was given the central striking role for an all-our-yesterdays battle in the Hearts penalty box with Aaron Hughes, two years the senior at 37 and someone he knows well from many a battle in the Premier League.

It was no surprise either that, within a minute of kick-off, James Keatings had whipped a dangerous corner straight at Hamilton considering the goalkeeper's recent difficulties with crosses.

What came as a shock was that, considering the robust play that followed, it took 29 minutes for referee Willie Collum to show the first yellow card. It was given to Darren McGregor for a shoulder charge that left Hearts captain Don Cowie needing several minutes to clear his head and steady his legs.

Early Hearts control

Hearts' Jamie Walker and Hibs' Darren McGregor shake hands at the final whistle
The two sides will meet again at Easter Road on 22 February

Ian Cathro's masterplan as Hearts head coach has started to take shape with successive Premiership wins over Rangers and Motherwell and Goncalves' goalscoring instincts have been central to that.

The Portuguese was handed a lone striking role, with misfiring Johnsen dropped to the bench, and it almost paid off within three minutes as he latched on to Lennard Sowah's fine pass but shot straight at Marciano.

Alexandros Tziolis has been a revelation in a holding midfield role, but even he was finding it difficult to retain his poise and the bobbly pitch and Hibs' man-marking combined to gradually wrestle away his early control of midfield.

The Greece international handed Hibs their best sight at goal yet with a loss of possession that allowed Cummings to warm Hamilton's palms and the ball rebounded off Holt and back into the goalkeeper's arms.

Replay at Easter Road

Hibs were looking the more dangerous in an even game, but Cathro had introduced Johnsen for midfielder Malaury Martin, who had been by-passed by the speed of play, at half-time and it took an elongated leg of Marciano to deny the American's fine first-time shot from 12 yards.

The introduction of Arnaud Djoum, fresh, or not so fresh, from winning the Africa Cup of Nations with Cameroon, introduced some extra drive into Hearts' midfield.

However, it was Hibs who had the best opportunity to win a scrappy affair when Holt just failed to get on the end of a Cummings shot across the face of goal.

It wasn't to be, though, and the Edinburgh rivals will do it all again at Easter Road, but it is now advantage Hibs.

Match reaction

Hearts head coach Ian Cathro: "It was a derby game ultimately, a lot of stoppages in play, difficult for there to be any flow in the game, so that probably made things more difficult for us.

"If we ask 'could we have played better?', the answer is 'yes, we could have'.

"Some difficult moments and we've been strong together and fought well and we're frustrated, but we look forward to the replay.

"Whatever the conditions are, they play their part, but we need to manage those things, but I don't want to focus too much on that.

"We will naturally know a bit more about the opponent for the next game, we know we are ready for the fight and we know we can match them in the fight and what we need to do is play better."

Hibernian manager Neil Lennon: "There's many ways to skin a cat and the pitch isn't conducive to playing good football, so we came here with a set way of playing because I think the pitch dictated that.

"I thought my players were excellent. There's quality players in both teams, but the game lacked quality because the pitch didn't let the quality flow.

"We had chances, they had chances and we do it again in 10 days' time.

"To have the opportunity to do that is testament to how well my players played and I thought we were the better team for large parts of the game.

"They can turn it on when they really want to. I just want them to turn it on a consistent basis.

"But we're still in the cup, we're going well in the league and the season's very much alive for us.

"We've come to a Premiership team - they beat Rangers by four the last time they played here - so there's no doubting the quality of the opposition we played, but we limited them to very few chances."