Hearts set up a William Hill Scottish Cup Fifth Round tie with Hibs after defeating Raith Rovers in 120 minutes of sheer drama at Tynecastle.
After falling behind to Bobby Barr’s deflected strike, Rory Currie levelled things in the first half. Despite a wave of second half pressure, the match went to extra time.
In the additional 30 minutes, Tynecastle went goal-crazy. Jamie Walker was fouled a minute into extra time and Malaury Martin fired home. However, Raith soon equalised when Ryan Hardie tapped in from a breakaway.
Hearts finally won the match though with a second penalty, this time from Walker, before Bjorn Johnsen’s tap-in ended the contest.
Ian Cathro made two changes from the side that earned a draw in the original meeting of the sides this past weekend, as Don Cowie and Krystian Nowak dropped out due to knocks.
The midfield duo were replaced by the returning Prince Buaben, and young striker Rory Currie - making his first start for the senior side.
Raith were first to threaten, as Declan McManus outpaced Aaron Hughes, and fired a low shot at Jack Hamilton, but the Scotland stopper parried the ball to safety.
The first chance for the hosts came on 12 minutes, as Jamie Walker burst through the middle of the park, and only a last-ditch challenge stopped his effort from hitting the net as it deflected for a corner.
Immediately after this, Raith took the lead as Bobby Barr ran towards goal. His long-range strike took a wicked deflection and flew in past Jack Hamilton to give the away side the lead.
Rovers came close again on twenty minutes as Jordan Thompson’s corner was headed just past the post by centre-half Jean-Yves M’Voto.
Hearts then went close as a Malaury Martin’s free-kick bounced back out to Andraz Struna, whose curling left-footed strike brought out a top save from Kevin Cuthbert.
The Jambos levelled after 35 minutes after an incisive break-away. Bjorn Johnsen won the ball in midfield and raced past two markers, before slipping a through-pass to Currie, and the teenage striker fired home from close range.
Head coach Ian Cathro made a switch at the break, with Sam Nicholson making his return to the team after a four-month absence, the winger replacing Prince Buaben on the right flank.
Ten minutes into the second half, and the Kirkcaldy outfit were on the attack again. Mark Stewart turned neatly in the box, and his fierce shot was deflected just past the post, and out for a corner.
On the hour, a goalmouth scramble led to the ball falling to Struna 30 yards out. The Slovenian’s cross was met by Currie, but the striker’s header was straight at Cuthbert.
Hearts missed a glorious chance to take the lead on 69 minutes. After Johnsen was fouled, Martin’s free-kick was headed off the bar and out by an unmarked Nicholson at the back post.
On 72 minutes, there was a huge penalty claim for Hearts as Jamie Walker was tripped by M’Voto in the box, but referee John Beaton waved play on.
Into the last ten minutes and it was an onslaught of Hearts pressure. First, an epic goalmouth scramble saw the ball somehow stay out the goal, before Martin’s effort from outside the area was deflected wide.
On 88 minutes, Johnsen came close twice. First, his header was superbly saved by Cuthbert, before his fine turn and shot hit the post and bounced out.
That was the last of the action in normal time as the game headed into the drama of extra time. Just one minute into the extra period, Hearts won a penalty. Jamie Walker broke through on goal and was fouled.
Malaury Martin stepped up with Walker being treated following the foul, and fired a precise penalty into the side of the goal netting, sending Cuthbert the wrong way in the process to give Hearts the lead.
However, Rovers equalised when Souttar mis-judged a long ball forward, and Mark Stewart squared the ball to Ryan Hardie who fired past Hamilton from close range.
In another twist, Hearts were awarded a second penalty as Walker was fouled yet again in the box. This time, Walker was fit to take the spot kick, and beat Cuthbert from twelve yards.
Hearts should have had the match dead and buried after another counter attack, but sub Dario Zanatta’s cutback found Johnsen who fired over.
However, they finally ended the Raith resistance, as Conor Sammon’s left-footed shot was saved by Cuthbert but straight into the path of Johnsen who gleefully tapped into the empty net.
And so, Hearts now face an encounter with their fiercest rivals next month in a mouthwatering clash for a place in the Scottish Cup Quarter Finals.
Hearts: Hamilton, Struna (Smith, 91'), Souttar, Hughes, Sowah, Kitchen, Buaben (Nicholson, 46' - Sammon, 108'), Martin, Walker, Currie (Zanatta, 99'), Johnsen. Subs: Noring, Oshaniwa, Beith.
Raith Rovers: Cuthbert, McHattie, Callachan, M'Voto, Benedictus, Stewart, B.Barr (Johnston, 99'), Matthews, Davidson (Thomson, 70'), McManus (Skacel, 99'), Thompson (Hardie, 79'). Subs: Brennan, Roberts, C.Barr.
Referee: John Beaton
Top Man: Rory Currie