Ryan Porteous praised the fitness of the Hibs’ players who needed extra time to see-off Motherwell in Saturday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final at Easter Road.
Hibs looked to be in total control after Christian Doidge opened the scoring with a fine header from Paul McGinn’s inch-perfect cross then Jackson Irvine’s first goal from the club but Motherwell fought back to level the score.
Photos Ian Jacobs
Both sides had chances in extra-time before the tie went to a penalty shoot-out where Martin Boyle, Melker Hallberg, McGinn and all scored penalties whilst Mark O’Hara and Stevie Lawless both missed.
After Liam Kelly saved Kevin Nisbet’s penalty the responsibility fell to the highly rated youngster and Porteous calmly sent the keeper the wrong way to secure a memorable victory and a place in the semi-finals.
After the final whistle Porteous told Hibs TV: “We made it hard for ourselves as normal but we dug deep. It’s not how you win cup games, it’s just that you get through and I am delighted for the boys and delighted to get back to Hampden.
“The last 10-minutes wasn’t good enough. They put four-up and we should have the numbers to deal with the crosses coming into the box but we didn’t do it. You’d think we would have learned from midweek when we conceded late on and kind of held on but we are just delighted to get through. It shows character from the boys to come back from the disappointment at full time and pull through the 30-minutes of extra time as well.
“It shows the fitness of the squad as well. At 90-minutes everybody felt alright. The substitutions made a big impact for us. Melker (Hallberg) and Drey (Wright) were brilliant when they came on and drove the team forward and we were unlucky not to nick it at the end. Boyler (Martin Boyle) had a chance, Melker had a chance and Nizzy (Kevin Nisbet) had a chance and on another day it could have been three or four before Motherwell got their first one.
“We played brilliantly for the first 75-minutes of the game but as I’ve said it’s all about getting through cup games.
“We are looking forward to getting back to Hampden and righting a wrong this season. Three semi-finals in one season. We want to get back there and we want to win it.
“Our head fully goes to St Johnstone next week and if we win that we will be safe so third place will be a massive achievement for the club. We’ve not done it for 16-years and that where the club should be aspiring to and cup competitions as well. We want to be challenging and winning them. “