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Hibs’ Scottish Cup hoodoo continues

EdinReport.1.46

Hibs dismal Scottish Cup record continued this afternoon with a 3-2 home defeat to Raith Rovers at Easter Road.

Terry Butcher made two changes to the side that lost 4-0 to Celtic two weeks ago, with Paul Hanlon returning from injury to partner Michael Nelson in defence whilst new on loan signing Duncan Watmore was handed a first start in place of Abdellah Zoubir who dropped to the bench.

Daniel Boateng and Danny Haynes also had to be content with a place on the bench.

Hibs started brightly but it was the visitors who took the lead against the run of play when Joe Cardle’s attempted cross was deflected into the path of Moon who slammed it past Ben Williams.

Hibs were quick to respond and Sam Stanton unleashed a terrific 20 yard strike in off the post after Tom Taiwo did well to win possession.

Watmore looked dangerous every time he got the ball, much to the delight of the Hibs’ fans, and within 15 minutes, two Raith players were booked for bringing him down.

A clash of heads between Jordon Forster and Reece Donaldson just before the break saw the Raith defender replaced by former Hibee Fraser Mullen.

Mullen had a hand in Rovers’ second goal when his free kick was flicked on by Anderson and Hill stabbed it in from close range.

The East Stand linesman put his flag up for offside however the referee awarded the goal to the fury of the Hibs supporters.

Less than a minute later Hibs were level when Nelson headed home from Liam Craig’s corner.

At half time the news that Celtic had lost to Aberdeen swept through the stadium and the Hibs’ fans started dreaming of another cup final.

Stanton then went close before Williams did well to deny Moon as both sides looked to gain the advantage.

On the hour Hibs introduced Zoubir and Haynes for James Collins and Alex Harris but it was the Fifers who grabbed the initiative when Cardle beat Forster before sending in an inch perfect cross that Anderson glanced into the net.

It was one way traffic after that and Craig’s powerful free kick was well saved by Laidlaw and from the resultant corner kick Nelson’s looping header struck the crossbar.

Craig slipped in substitute Paul Heffernan but his mishit effort was easily saved by Laidlaw.

Hibs then appeared to have a good claim for a spot kick when Watmore was brought down by Moon however match official Steven McLean waved away the claims.

Haynes and Forster both went close in the last minute but the Kirkcaldy side held on to secure the win.

After the game an angry Terry Butcher said: “I’m bitterly disappointed because we didn’t deserve anything from out performance today, so fair play to Raith Rovers and I want to congratulate them for their display. They rubbished us at the back, they won second balls, they passed it well and stopped us from gaining any sort of momentum.

“I just can’t believe we’ve turned in a display like that. We worked so hard through the week to try and win the game. It’s unbelievable.

“We showed a bit of character to get back twice and you’re thinking let us score the next one and we’ll see if they can come back, but second half they seemed to get a grip. We couldn’t get anything going; we couldn’t get the wide players on the ball.

“I felt sorry for Duncan Watmore and Sam Stanton. I thought those two were great but the rest were very poor.

“We conceded three unbelievably poor goals which were disasters from our point of view. There’s a lot of work to be done so what team I put out next week is anybody’s guess because every position is up for grabs and I mean up for grabs.

“With the history that Hibs has with the Scottish Cup, we’ve let the fans down badly today.”

Hibernian: Williams, Hanlon, Nelson, Harris (Haynes 60′), Craig, Collins (Zoubir 60′), Stevenson, Taiwo (Heffernan 71′), Watmore, Forster, Stanton. Substitutes not used: Grant, Robertson, Boateng, Maybury.

Raith Rovers: Laidlaw, Thomson, Booth, Hill (Ellis 72′), Fox, Cardle, Moon, Spence (Smith 63′), Anderson, Callachan, Donaldson (Mullen 42′).Substitutes not used: Roberts, Ellis, Vaughan, Matthews, Bates.

Referee: Steven McLean.

Attendance: 10,503.

Photo by John Preece

http://www.photoboxgallery.com/jlp-photography

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