The Hearts go marching on22 June 2023
Robbie Neilson made four changes to the side that defeated Dundee United last weekend. Alex Cochrane, Michael Smith, Jorge Grant, and Stephen Humphrys replaced Alan Forrest, Kye Rowles, Andy Halliday, and the suspended Lawrence Shankland.
The men in maroon started the opening ten minutes brightly and created a flurry of openings without troubling Ryan Fulton in the Accies goal.
Despite having the majority of the possession, it took the Jambos 22 minutes to create something more clear-cut and when Barrie McKay’s deep corner found Stephen Humphrys, he could only fire over on the volley.
The Jambos continued to probe and Humphrys again came close five minutes later. This time, he connected with Stephen Kingsley’s cross, but the striker struggled to generate enough power on his header to trouble Fulton.
Not to worry though, as Hearts’ number 29, buried his next chance to open the scoring on 29 minutes. McKay, as he so often does, was finding plenty of pockets of space in which to operate, so it was no surprise to see this led to the opening goal.
The winger turned just inside the Accies half and found Josh Ginnelly on the edge of the box. He found Humphrys, who was direct, and his powerful left-foot strike was good enough to beat Fulton at his near post, from a tight angle and give Hearts a deserved lead.
As for the home side, they deserved their plaudits too. They worked hard and on their rare ventures forward, looked dangerous, but it was Hearts who continued to look more threatening, and Stephen Kingsley almost added a second before the break.
Humphrys this time turned provider and after a clever corner routine, his cut-back was curled agonisingly wide by the defender.
Half time: Hamilton 0-1 Hearts
Into the second half and Accies enjoyed a bit more possession without seriously testing Zander Clark. Hearts were still enjoying the majority of the ball, as they went in search of a second goal that was likely to kill the tie.
Robert Snodgrass came closest after 65 minutes when his sweet volley from the edge of the box was well saved by Fulton.
Yutaro Oda was introduced with 17 minutes remaining and he almost made an instant impact when cutting in off the left wing, but he dragged his shot wide.
The second goal finally arrived twelve minutes from time as two more Hearts substitutes combined. Cammy Devlin found Alan Forrest down the left and when he continued his run into the box, he got the better of Dan O’Reilly to bundle home Forrest’s cross.
After neat play on the corner of the Accies box, Alan Forrest almost added a third, but his effort was straight at Fulton in what was the last action, as Hearts go marching on to the quarter-finals.
Hamilton: Fulton, Shiels, O’Reilly, Martin, L. Smith, McGowan, Stephenson, Tiehi, Tumilty, De Bolle, Owens
Subs: J. Smith, Easton, Zanatta, Winter, McGinn, One, Newbury
Hearts: Clark, Smith (Atkinson 73), Kingsley, Grant (Forrest, 58), McKay (Oda, 73), Cochrane, Sibbick, Humphrys (Devlin, 65), Ginnelly, Hill, Snodgrass
Subs: Stewart, Kio, Atkinson, Devlin, Rowles, Halliday, Forrest, Kuol, Oda