Hibs qualified for the last 16 of the Scottish Cup thanks to an extra time goal from Kevin Nisbet against Paul Hartley’s Cove Rangers at Easter Road last night.
The game should have been won in the regulation 90-minutes but a dreadful offside call meant that a legitimate first-half effort from Christian Doidge was wrongly ruled out.
Photos Ian Jacobs
Shaun Maloney made five changes with Ewan Henderson making his debuts, Chris Mueller his home debut, a first start since August for Doidge, Melker Hallberg in for the first time this season and club Lewis Stevenson returning to the starting XI.
Kevin Nisbet, Drey Wright and Jake Doyle-Hayes dropped to the bench and there was no sign of Rocky Bushiri or top scorer Martin Boyle who is believed to be the subject of an improved offer from Saudi club Al Faisaly.
Former Hibs Scottish Cup winning midfielder Fraser Fyvie started for Cove.
With only one recognised central defender in the starting XI, Maloney went with a risky back three of Hallberg, Hanlon and Stevenson.
A mistake by Matt Macey almost gave the visitors and early lead when his clearance struck Mitch Megginson and the rebound could have gone anywhere but luckily for Hibs the ball went wide.
Hibs first chance came in the 20th minute following a mistake from Cove’s keeper whose clearance fell to Mueller. The American cut inside but his angled strike was well saved.
Five minutes later Doidge should have done better with a header from Ewan Henderson’s cross but he failed to hit the target.
Doidge then had the ball in the net following a mistake from Fyvie but his effort was wrongly ruled out for offside. TV evidence though showed the Welshman was two-yards onside t when he ran onto the ball.
In the 41st minute Doidge almost scored with an overhead kick but his effort went straight into the keeper’s arms.
Just before the break Chris Cadden’s cross was met by Josh Doig but his first-time volley was well saved although the referee awarded a goal-kick.
After the restart Macey did well to save from Megginson then Cadden fired in a low cross which Morgyn Neill did well to clear.
Mueller tried a long range effort which Kyle Gourlay easily saved.
Cadden then continued to send in dangerous crosses from the right but the Cove defenders dealt with everything thrown at them and the final whistle after 93-minutes was met with a chorus of boos from the frustrated home fans.
In the 97th minute, Joe Newell slid Doig in but the youngster toe poked the ball past the post.
Doig then sent a superb low cross into the danger area but the ball just eluded James Scott.
Shortly after the restart Kevin Nisbet fired inches wide from the end of the area then in the 111th minute Hibs took the lead.
Jamie Murphy picked up the ball on the right, cut inside and slid the ball to Doig who found Nisbet unmarked and the Scotland striker calmly slotted the ball into the net from six-yards out to the relief of the home fans.
Cove continued to fight but Hibs comfortably managed the game to a victory.
Hibs: Macey, Cadden, Hanlon, Doig, Stevenson, Hallberg, Newell, Henderson, Campbell, Mueller, Doidge. Subs: Dabrowski, Nisbet, Gogic, Wright, Murphy, Doyle-Hayes, Allan, Scott, Mackie.
Cove Rangers: Gourlay, Neill, Scully, Ross, Milne, Strachan, Yule, Fyvie, Masson, McIntosh, Megginson. Subs: McKenzie, McAllister, Anderson, Adeyemo, Leitch, Reynolds.