posted on Apr, 9 2005 @ 12:59 PM
Dundee United snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with two late goals in two minutes to book their place in the Tennent's Scottish Cup final.
Hibernian looked to be cruising towards their first Scottish Cup final since 2001 when Derek Riordan scored from the spot midway through the second
period. But United's interim manager Gordon Chisholm turned the game on its head with three bold substitutions within seven minutes after which Jim
McIntyre equalised before Jason Scotland came off the bench to hit a dramatic winner. After the minute's silence in memory of the Pope was ruined by a
few mindless fans in both sections, Hibernian set about their opponents only a week after beating them 3-2.
The Edinburgh outfit were quick to settle down and United goalkeeper Tony Bullock was tested after just 50 seconds. Stephen Glass let fly with a
swerving left-footed shot from 25 yards out and Bullock could only push it away before gathering at the second attempt. The United number one breathed
another sigh of relief in the ninth minute when Barry Wilson stood off from Derek Riordan and allowed the talented youngster to unleash a speculative
right-footed shot from a similar distance which dipped just over the the crossbar. The swirling wind was not helping the two goalkeepers and
Hibernian's Simon Brown looked uncomfortable from Mark Wilson's hanging cross.
Bullock made another crucial save in the 22nd minute when Riordan played the ball into Scott Brown's path and the stopper had to punch his 25-yard
drive over the top. Bullock had his heart in his mouth in the 27th minute when he spilled Riordan's cross, after he had sprinted past Paul Ritchie
with ease inside the box, and Garry Kenneth's clearance hit his goalkeeper but fortunately for them the ball ricocheted to safety. At the other end
United started to come back into the game and Scotland striker Stevie Crawford finally had a chance to threaten the Hibernian goal having been found
by Kenneth just outside the area but his right-footed curling shot whistled over the crossbar.
United were furious in the 33rd minute when Robson's cross struck the hand of Steven Whittaker - who did well after replacing suspended skipper Ian
Murray - in the area but referee Mike McCurry waved away the protests. He rubbed salt into the wounds seconds later when he booked Ritchie for a foul
on Garry O'Connor but Riordan curled his right-footed free-kick just past the post from 22 yards. Stephen Fletcher was guilty of missing a glorious
chance to put Hibernian ahead at the break after a two uncharacteristic mistakes by Ritchie. Firstly he cleared the ball straight to Riordan and then
he allowed his cross get through his legs to fall at Fletcher's feet but he ballooned it over the top from seven yards.
Bullock saved another Riordan free-kick before O'Connor headed straight into his hands from Whittaker's cross and Brown blazed over before the whistle
blew. Hibernian looked the most likely of the two sides to go ahead after the break and they did, ironically after United had threatened. Wilson
picked out Duff and he attempted to lift the ball over Brown but failed to get the height and the goalkeeper made the catch. But United found
themselves chasing the game as the ball was launched downfield and Robson clumsily barged Dean Shiels over in the area. McCurry had no hesitation in
pointing to the spot and Riordan coolly stepped up to send Bullock the wrong way.
Mowbray immediately brought on Kevin Thomson for David Murphy but Robson then wasted a great chance to make amends for his earlier challenge but he
spooned his shot over from nine yards with the Easter Road defence all over the place. But the Hibernian goalkeeper was lucky not to be sent off in
the 61st minute when he reacted angrily to McIntyre's late challenge after clearing the ball. Brown raised his hands into the throat of the United man
and the Tannadice supporters booed as both men were shown yellow cards. Both managers made changes with Chisholm sending on Jason Scotland, Kerr and
Collin Samuel for Duff, McInnes and Crawford in seven minutes from the 62nd.
But the game was turned on its head in the 74th minute when Robson made up for his part in the penalty when he burst into the box and crossed for
McIntyre to tap in. The United fans were again celebrating two minutes later when Kerr found Scotland and he was allowed to run across the edge of the
Hibernian box before sending a left-footed shot past the hand of Brown and into the bottom-left corner of the net. Mowbray responded by sending on Sam
Morrow for Riordan to save the game with 12 minutes remaining. United could have killed it off with Hibernian pushing men forward and Robson hit the
top of the bar from a corner in the 88th minute before the final whistle sounded to the agony of the shellshocked Hibernian youngsters and joy of the
disbelieving United side.