Hibs overcame the weather conditions and poor playing surface to cruise through to the last-16 of the Scottish Cup with a comfortable victory over Queen of the South at Palmerston Park tonight.
Head Coach Jack Ross made one change to the starting XI that drew with Livingston two weeks ago with Matt Macey replacing Ofir Marciano in goals. Allan Johnstone kept the same eleven that beat Hearts at Tynecastle last weekend.
The Hibs’ players had difficulty adapting to the artificial surface, described by Craig Levine as the worst in Scotland, in the opening period but almost took an early lead when Christian Doidge’s cross fell to Joe Newell but his first-time effort was blocked by Willie Gibson.
At the other end a long throw was nodded to the unmarked Stephen Dobbie but the normally prolific striker’s shot flew well over the bar.
In the 16th minute Jackson Irvine found Boyle with a superb through ball but Queens’ keeper Rohan Ferguson produced a fine save to keep the score level.
Moments later a Boyle cross was cleared into the path of Kevin Nisbet bit the striker’s volley flew just wide of the post.
Another long throw led to a penalty claim by the hosts when the ball struck Alex Gogic’ arm but referee Willie Collum waved play on.
The weather deteriorated with snow and high winds as both teams struggled to gain control.
Nisbet then found Boyle down the right wing but his cross was blocked as Hibs began to dominate.
In the 41st minute Hibs took the lead when Boyle’s corner from the left was cleared to Nisbet who controlled the ball on his chest and clipped it back into the danger area. Gogic was first to react and slid the ball to Doidge who fired the ball into the net from five yards out.
Nisbet then blocked a clearance from Ferguson but the ball went wide of the post.
Just before the break, Newell was harshly penalised for a foul on Ciaran Dickson 30-yards from goal and from the resultant free-kick Rhys McCabe’s powerful effort struck the junction of the post and bar.
Hibs started the second-half on the front foot and created a number of good chances in the opening spell.
Nisbet and Boyle both tried their luck from long-range without success then Josh Doig sent a tremendous low cross across the face of the goal which just evaded the Hibs strikers.
A Newell corner was cleared to Doig but his volley from the edge of the area was flicked wide by Paul Hanlon and Hibs enjoyed a sustained spell of pressure.
Irvine headed a Newell cross just wide then Ferguson did well to save a 20-yard strike from Irvine.
Boyle then cut the ball back into the path of Newell but his effort rolled inches past of the post.
There was a scare for Hibs when Dobbie’s long ball found Connor Shields but Macey produced a superb save to retain Hibs lead.
In the 66th minute Dobbie went down inside the area under a challenge from Newell but Willie Collum who was only five yards away wasn’t interested. Newell then slid a fantastic through ball into the path of Doidge who calmly chipped the ball over Ferguson to double Hibs’ advantage.
There was only 12-seconds between the penalty claim and the goal and Queen’s manager Allan Johnstone was clearly furious with the referee.
Three minutes later Hibs added a third when Nisbet collected the ball in midfield and slid in Boyle who dinked it over Ferguson and end the game as a contest.
Kyle Magennis replaced Irvine with 16-minutes remaining then Chris Cadden took over from Boyle.
With 10-minutes remaining Queens pulled one back when James Maxwell won possession in midfield, beat Hanlon and clipped the ball past Macey.
Hibs responded immediately and Doidge almost secured a hat trick with a header from Magennis’s corner but the ball struck the inside of the post and was cleared.
With five-minutes remaining Drey Wright replaced Doidge then a mistake by Ayo Obileye gave Nisbet a chance but the new Scotland international sliced his effort wide and Hibs held on to secure the victory and a trip to Stranraer in the next round.
Queen of the South: Ferguson, Gibson, Buchanan, Breen, Maxwell, Obileye, Joseph, McCabe, Dickson, Shields, Dobbie. Substitutes: Leighfield, McKee, Fitzpatrick, Goss, McCrory, East, McMahon, Jones, Mebude
Hibs: Macey, McGinn, Hanlon (c), Porteous, Boyle, Gogic, Irvine, Doig, Newell, Doidge, Nisbet. Substitutes: Dabrowski, Gray, McGregor, Stevenson, Cadden, Wright, Magennis, Hallberg, Bradley.
Referee Willie Collum