CELTIC will meet Hibs in the Scottish Cup Final next month – if, or when, they take care of business in the Glasgow derby at Hampden tomorrow.
The Easter Road side have to thank goalkeeper Conrad Logan, who was playing his first top team game for 15 months after signing from Leicester City as cover.
The burly County Donegal-born shotstopper kept out Dundee United throughout 90 minutes and extra-time as the game ended goalless and went to penalty-kicks. Hibs’ Jason Cummings had already squandered a spot-kick in the 29th minute when he tried to be too clever with a deft flick – and sent the ball spiralling over the crossbar.
Logan had already made an excellent save to block an effort from Billy McKay and he repeated the feat against the same player after the interval. United were out of luck when Paul Hanlon headed off the line in the 65th minute.
Neither Anthony Stokes nor Liam Henderson, Hibs’ two on-loan Celts, lasted the 90 minutes. The striker was replaced in the 79th minute and the midfielder followed six minutes later.
Logan, 29, made a brilliant save from John Rankin as the game headed towards a spot-kick showdown. Remarkably, the keeper, only playing because regular No.1 Mark Oxley was unavailable, saved the first two attempts from Blair Spittal and McKay.
John McGinn, who had worked tirelessly throughout the two hours, and Hanlon netted for the Easter Road side before Paul Dixon eventually got the ball behind Logan. Martin Boyle hammered in Hibs’ third and Guy Demel claimed a second for United before first-half villain Cummings booked Hibs’ place in the Cup Final with a measured low drive into the corner.
Now all Celtic need to do is win tomorrow and we can all look forward to a Green Party at Hampden on May 21.