Another League Cup tie, another 120 minute drama for Hearts. Last season’s beaten finalists needed penalty kicks to defeat Raith Rovers in the last round and they had to put their supporters through a similar experience at Tynecastle on Wednesday evening to win another dramatic penalty shoot-out to see off a brave Queen of the South side.
After a quiet opening period with neither goalkeeper being tested, Hearts went ahead in the 14th minute. A fine passing move saw Jason Holt set up Kevin McHattie and the young defender finished with the style of a striker with a fine left foot shot. This lifted the home support in the crowd of just over 8,000 but the home side’s lead lasted just five minutes. Hearts defence failed to clear their lines effectively and Ryan McGuffie – who scored for Gretna against Hearts in the 2006 Scottish Cup final – equalised with a left foot effort.
The First Division side were making a game of it and they really should have gone in front after half an hour when Derek Lyle had a golden chance to score from six yards but the striker blazed his effort high over the crossbar. Hearts could consider themselves rather fortunate to be on level terms at half time.
It took the home side just six minutes of the second half to regain the lead. Higgins tangled with Jamie Walker in the penalty box and although the penalty award by referee McKendrick looked soft, Jamie Hamill despatched the penalty kick to put the Maroons back in front.
Ten minutes later and this see-saw of a cup tie was all square once more. Lyle set up Paton and the former Aberdeen striker produced a fine left foot finish to make the score 2-2.
Play swung from end to end but as the game wore on the Doonhamers looked the more likely to score and McShane and Carmichael both missed decent chances. But the 90 minutes ended with the teams level and so extra time began.
There were just two minutes of extra time gone when Hearts took the lead for the third time in the evening. Jamie Hamill – again getting through a power of work in midfield – set up Danny Wilson and the former Rangers and Liverpool defender fired home Hearts third. It looked like this would be enough to put Hearts in Thursday’s fourth round draw but Queens scored a deserved equaliser with just four minutes left when Higgins pounced before being nearly smothered by his jubilant team mates.
And so, just like in the last round at Kirkcaldy, Hearts were involved in a penalty shoot-out. Jordan McGhee, Dale Carrick, Billy King and Dylan McGowan all converted from the spot while Mitchell and Paton missed their penalties for the visitors. Hearts through to the quarter finals, 4-2 in the penalty shoot-out.
Hearts: MacDonald, McGowan, McKay, Wilson, McHattie, Holt, Robinson, Hamill; Paterson, Oliver, Walker.
QoS: Antell, McGuffie, Holt, Dzierzawski, Dowie, Higgins, McShane, Young, Lyle, Paton, Russell.
Referee: John McKendrick
Top man: Kevin McHattie.