First team

Match Report: Morton 0-1 Hearts

11 March 2024

Hearts will meet Rangers in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup after seeing off Greenock Morton 1-0 at Cappielow.


Kenneth Vargas struck just minutes from time to set up a meeting with the Ibrox side after a competitive cup tie in Inverclyde.


Marshalled by a boisterous home support, Morton emerged from the traps quickly as proceedings commenced. With barely four minutes on the clock, an in-swinging ball from Alan Power forced Craig Gordon to emerge at full-stretch to usher the ball away from danger.


That aside, the opening stanza lacked any real chances or quality as both sides grappled in the middle of the park for control of the game. Hearts had to be patient, with the first maroon chance falling after 20 minutes.


Morton, twice failing to properly clear Jorge Grant’s cross, cannoned the ball into the path of Lawrence Shankland – who displayed a nice touch to control and spin the ball towards goal, before sending a powerful strike wide of Ryan Mullen’s goal.


Hearts began to enjoy the lion’s share of possession, and kept plugging away at a well organised Morton side. Some nice footwork from Alan Forrest on 26 minutes saw him advance towards goal – with only a wholehearted block from Alan Power deflecting it behind.


A probing cross from Lembikisa just minutes later saw a big chance go astray for the Jambos: Lawrence Shankland making a smart turn before hitting a low drive at Mullen, forcing the Morton keeper into tipping it around the post.


Chances kept tumbling from the Inverclyde sky for Hearts: Alan Forrest next to scare Mullen with a low drive that dragged inches wide of the post as the men in maroon maintained their ascendancy into the game.


The deadlock held as half-time approached, with a Robbie Muirhead misfire, after catching Lemibikisa on the back foot, allowing Morton inside. The ex-Jambos man crafted the final chance of the half after smashing a free-kick into the gloves of Gordon.




A magnificent chance fell Hearts’ way after 53 minutes when Beni Baningime bulleted a header wide of Mullen’s goal courtesy of a tremendous ball from Stephen Kingsley.


The pendulum swung both ways, with Craig Gordon required to tip a Jack Baird header away from danger as Morton immediately launched a counter-offensive. The Jambos kept at it, with Cammy Devlin forcing a stretching save from Mullen after the ball was freed to him inside the Morton area.


The game dragged on with little between the sides, albeit Hearts shaded the possession, but the game found a winner just minutes from time when great running from Baningime saw Shankland slipped in.


The number nine released to Kenneth Vargas, who struck hard and true to send the Jambos through to Hampden Park and the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup.



Morton: Mullen, Strapp, O’Connor, Baird, Blues, Muirhead, Crawford, Broadfoot, Power, Gillespie © (Waters 86’), French


Subs: Murdoch, Waters, McGrattan, Garrity, Bearne


Hearts: Gordon, Kingsley, Baningime, Grant (Cochrane 58’), Shankland ©, Devlin, Rowles, Forrest, Sibbick, Vargas, Lembikisa (Atkinson 58’)


Subs: Clark, Atkinson, Cochrane, Denholm, Tait, Tagawa, Sandilands, McLuckie, Wilson