Scottish Cup - Semi-final
Hearts3Inverness CT0

Hearts 3-0 Inverness CT: Ikpeazu, Souttar & Clare earn Scottish Cup final place

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Goals: Hearts 3-0 Inverness CT

Hearts secured their 15th Scottish Cup final appearance with three second-half goals against Scottish Championship side Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Craig Levein's side await the winners of Sunday's semi-final between Aberdeen and holders Celtic.

Uche Ikpeazu fired in just after the break, with John Souttar volleying the second - both from Olly Lee corners.

Sean Clare secured the victory from the penalty spot after Ikpeazu was brought down by Mark Ridgers.

Victory over the Championship promotion-seekers eased the pressure on Hearts manager Craig Levein.

Hearts slipped to sixth in the Premiership behind Hibernian after losing to their Edinburgh rivals in last weekend's derby at Tynecastle but were well worthy of a return to Hampden on 25 May.

Hearts batter Inverness into submission

That Levein was pitting his managerial wits against his former team-mate and Hearts legend John Robertson ensured that the Championship side would be well prepared for anything their opponents would throw at them tactically.

One defeat in seven outings since beating Dundee United the quarter-finals have just about secured Inverness CT's place in the promotion play-offs and the 2015 winners started like a team full of confidence despite being underdogs.

The pressure was all on Hearts after three defeats in their last four and they had to survive a few early nervous moments inside their own penalty box before slowly but surely exerting their greater quality.

A Christophe Berra drive that was deflected over from in front of his own goal by Joe Chalmers ushered in a long period of dominance, but it took until the opening seconds of the second half before Hearts tested Ridgers, with Lee's thundering long-range drive forcing a fingertip save from the goalkeeper.

Ikpeazu, having recovered from injury, was the focus for all Hearts' efforts and it was him who forced in the opener. Lee found Jake Mulraney and, when the former Inverness CT winger's low drive was deflected from in front of goal, the Englishman was first to react to score.

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Watch: Ikpeazu breaks deadlock for Hearts

The second-tier side responded superbly and a curling Chalmers free-kick looked to be heading for the net until goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal tipped it on to the face of the bar. Jamie McCart also thought he had equalised when his clever chip over Zlamal found the net, but the offside flag had already gone up.

However, there was no way back once the Highlanders were undone from another Lee corner that found Souttar.

Hearts fans, who had voiced their disappointment at the half-time whistle, were now celebrating and, after Ikpeazu was brought down from Lee's fine through ball, substitute Clare ensured their joy was complete from the penalty spot.

The Tynecastle side are now only 90 minutes away from lifting the Scottish Cup for a ninth time - their first since 2012.

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Watch: Levein looking forward to cup final

'Credit to MacPhee for set plays' - analysis

Scotland Women head coach Shelley Kerr on BBC One Scotland

A lot of credit should go to Hearts assistant Austin MacPhee because he spends a lot of time on set-pieces - and that's a lot of his job with Northern Ireland as well. He's on the training pitch and he devises new set-plays all the time. I think he just edits and adapts others' free-kicks and corners, but it certainly works for Hearts.

Former Hearts midfielder Michael Stewart on BBC One Scotland

When the second goal went in, that really killed the game. If you've only got two or three set plays then teams can very quickly get an idea of what you're trying to do. They've done a number of them during the match and none of them are similar. You've got to be continually fresh with your ideas and Hearts clearly are that from set-plays and it's paid off big-time.

Former Scotland striker Steven Thompson on BBC One Scotland

Inverness showed a good response to going 1-0 down, but their key players didn't get involved enough. They will be disappointed because, for me, they didn't show their best, but they have bigger fish to fry in terms of trying to get promotion from the Championship.

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Inverness 'goal' should have stood - Robertson

Line-ups

Hearts

  • 1Zlamal
  • 2Smith
  • 4Souttar
  • 6Berra
  • 31Burns
  • 5Haring
  • 8Lee
  • 10Sutchuin-DjoumBooked at 60minsSubstituted forBozanicat 76'minutes
  • 23MulraneySubstituted forClareat 71'minutes
  • 35KeenaSubstituted forMacLeanat 64'minutes
  • 19Ikpeazu

Substitutes

  • 3Shaughnessy
  • 7Bozanic
  • 9Clare
  • 13Doyle
  • 15Wighton
  • 18MacLean
  • 25Brandon

Inverness CT

  • 1Ridgers
  • 2RooneyBooked at 51mins
  • 22McKay
  • 6McCart
  • 3TremarcoSubstituted forMcHattieat 59'minutes
  • 24TraffordSubstituted forAustinat 75'minutes
  • 4Chalmers
  • 11Walsh
  • 7Polworth
  • 10Doran Cogan
  • 19WhiteSubstituted forMcCauleyat 83'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8McCauley
  • 9Austin
  • 21Mackay
  • 29McHattie
  • 35Macgregor
  • 37Brown
  • 40Harper
Referee:
Don Robertson
Attendance:
21,011

Match Stats

Home TeamHeartsAway TeamInverness CT
Possession
Home59%
Away41%
Shots
Home16
Away6
Shots on Target
Home6
Away0
Corners
Home9
Away6
Fouls
Home11
Away8

Live Text

Match ends, Heart of Midlothian 3, Inverness CT 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Heart of Midlothian 3, Inverness CT 0.

Steven MacLean (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jamie McCart (Inverness CT).

Foul by Uche Ikpeazu (Heart of Midlothian).

Aaron Doran (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Aaron Doran (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Oliver Bozanic.

Substitution

Substitution, Inverness CT. Darren McCauley replaces Jordan White.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Jordan White (Inverness CT) because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Oliver Bozanic (Heart of Midlothian) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

Uche Ikpeazu (Heart of Midlothian) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Kevin McHattie (Inverness CT).

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Oliver Bozanic replaces Djoum.

Substitution

Substitution, Inverness CT. Nathan Austin replaces Charlie Trafford.

Goal!

Goal! Heart of Midlothian 3, Inverness CT 0. Sean Clare (Heart of Midlothian) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

Penalty Heart of Midlothian. Uche Ikpeazu draws a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty conceded by Mark Ridgers (Inverness CT) after a foul in the penalty area.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Jamie McCart.

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Sean Clare replaces Jake Mulraney.

Attempt missed. Uche Ikpeazu (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box misses to the left.

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Peter Haring.

Attempt blocked. Joe Chalmers (Inverness CT) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Liam Polworth (Inverness CT) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Goal!

Goal! Heart of Midlothian 2, Inverness CT 0. John Souttar (Heart of Midlothian) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box to the high centre of the goal following a corner.

Corner, Heart of Midlothian. Conceded by Shaun Rooney.

Substitution

Substitution, Heart of Midlothian. Steven MacLean replaces Aidan Keena.

Foul by Peter Haring (Heart of Midlothian).

Charlie Trafford (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Inverness CT. Conceded by Bobby Burns.

Booking

Djoum (Heart of Midlothian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Djoum (Heart of Midlothian).

Liam Polworth (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Inverness CT. Kevin McHattie replaces Carl Tremarco.

Joe Chalmers (Inverness CT) hits the bar with a right footed shot from outside the box from a direct free kick.

Foul by Djoum (Heart of Midlothian).

Liam Polworth (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Olly Lee (Heart of Midlothian).

Liam Polworth (Inverness CT) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

goal

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