Despite an heroic performance, Hearts lost out in the 2019/20 William Hill Scottish Cup Final after a defeat to Celtic on penalties.
The Jam Tarts looked dead and buried at half time, with Celtic two goals up following a strike from Ryan Christie and an Odsonne Edouard penalty, but they roared back in the second half with goals from Liam Boyce and Stephen Kingsley levelling things up.
Leigh Griffiths netted in extra time to put the Celts back in front but Josh Ginnelly prodded home at the back post from a corner to level once more. The match went to penalties, and Kris Ajer netted the winning spot kick for Celtic.
Robbie Neilson made one change to the side that defeated Queen of the South 6-1 last weekend, with Andy Halliday coming into the side for Olly Lee.
Hearts started brightly and Steven Naismith won a free kick in the Celtic half. The ball was curled in by Andy Irving, and Christophe Berra met the ball on the volley but his effort was weak and held by Celtic keeper Conor Hazard.
Naismith was gifted another chance after 15 minutes when Hazard rushed from his goal and Naismith got there first, but the ball dribbled wide. Moments later, Celtic took the lead. Aidy White intercepted a pass but it fell to Ryan Christie who curled a wonderful effort into the top corner.
Ten minutes later, it was two. Shane Duffy headed the ball against Berra’s arm from a corner, and John Beaton awarded a penalty, which Edouard chipped down the middle of the goal. Edouard almost scored again as Hearts held on, but Craig Gordon saved his effort with his feet as half-time drew near.
After the interval, Hearts came out of the traps. White made a superb run down the left, and passed to Andy Halliday who chipped a ball to the back post for Liam Boyce to nod home. Celtic went up the other end and Gordon twice denied Edouard and Elyounoussi.
Josh Ginnelly then entered the fray, and had a chance within minutes after Duffy and Chris Jullien got in each others’ way, but Hazard saved. However, the momentum had shifted and you could tell Hearts were in the ascendancy, and so it showed seven minutes later when Stephen Kingsley nodded home from Ginnelly’s corner, with goal line technology awarding the goal.
Celtic began to press harder after the equaliser but toiled against the Hearts defence, who were sitting very deep to contain but with Ginnelly and Craig Wighton up front, now able to play on the break.
Hearts could have won the game in stoppage time, when Olly Lee was played in down the right and squared it for Ginnelly, but he blasted over as normal time ended. Extra time was played at a frantic pace, but without any clear opportunities for either side until injury time, when Scott Brown headed down from a corner. Gordon produced a great save but Leigh Griffiths bundled the ball home.
Again, Hearts came back though. Elliott Frear won a free kick down the right, Lee’s cross was nodded across goal by Kingsley and Ginnelly prodded home at the far post. Tom Rogic was the last to threaten for Celtic, his drive whistling past the post as it went to the lottery of penalty kicks, where Celtic won 4-3 after keeper Hazard saved two spot kicks from Kingsley and Wighton, and Ajer buried his kick.