Hibernian reach Scottish Cup quarter-final with victory over Raith

Hibernian’s incoming head coach will have a Scottish Cup quarter-final to look forward to after the capital club cruised past Raith Rovers 3-1.

Mark McNulty scored his first goal since joining the club on loan from Reading, adding to sublime strikes from Daryl Horgan and Vykintas Slivka to see off the League One outfit.

A powerful Euan Murray header did add some intrigue to the closing stages but, despite the visitors throwing bodies forward in the dying moments, the Hibees held firm.

The result ensured a winning finale in what is likely to be Eddie May’s final match as caretaker boss at Easter Road, with a successor to Neil Lennon expected to be appointed in the early stages of next week.

Former Blackburn and Oxford manager Michael Appleton is thought to be closing in on the post after two rounds of talks with the Hibs hierarchy.

Rovers arrived in Edinburgh dreaming of replicating the stunning victory on their last visit to Easter Road on Scottish Cup duty when they dumped Terry Butcher’s men out 3-2. Grant Murray, now on the Hibs coaching staff, was the Rovers manager that day.

And Raith striker Tony Dingwall clearly fancied masterminding another upset, stinging the palms of Ofir Marciano with a sharp drive from distance in the opening exchanges.

However, it did not take long for Hibs to wrestle control of the contest from their League One visitors, with Stevie Mallan posting a signal of intent with a dipping effort from 25 yards that fizzed narrowly wide.

That would prove a temporary reprieve for the visitors as Hibs claimed the lead after 22 minutes.

Horgan latched on to a neat pass from Slivka before manufacturing space on the edge of the box with some slick footwork and curling a sumptuous left-footed drive beyond Robbie Thomson.

Dingwall, a consistent threat at the other end, headed a Nathan Flannigan delivery narrowly wide as Rovers sought an immediate response in front of boisterous travelling support from Kirkcaldy.

But Hibs effectively booked their place in the draw for the quarter-final prior to the break when McNulty showed magnificent strength to collect a Lewis Stevenson cross in the box, hold off several challenges and feed the ball to Slivka who slammed home.

McNulty deservedly got his name on the scoresheet in the second period when he raced onto a dinked through-ball from Horgan and lashed a clinical low shot through the legs of Thomson.

To their credit, John McGlynn’s men refused to give up the ghost and Raith claimed a late consolation when Murray headed home a Flannigan corner.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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