How Hearts Won the Scottish Cup

An emphatic 5-1 victory over city rivals Hibernian secured the 2011/12 Scottish Cup for Heart of Midlothian.  They have now won the famous trophy 8 times, more than any other team outside of Glasgow, and 4th overall on the list of winners behind Celtic (35), Rangers (33) and Queen’s Park (10).  Hearts have been the biggest challengers to the Glasgow clubs’ stranglehold over the trophy in recent years – this was their 3rd success in the last 14 years. Dundee United were the only other non-Old Firm team to win the trophy in that period.  Rudi Skacel was the only survivor from the side which won the cup in 2006, making him the first player in over a century to win the Cup twice with Hearts.

Their 5-1 victory was the biggest winning margin since Rangers beat Aberdeen 4-0 in 2000.  On that day, Jim Leighton was injured early on, and with no goalkeeper on the bench (only 3 subs at the time), Robbie Winters had to play almost the entire match in goals for the Dons.  The last time a team scored 5 goals in a Scottish Cup final, Hearts were on the receving end, as a Brian Laudrup-inspired Rangers beat them 5-1 in 1996.  The 4 goal winning margin for Hearts equalled that achieved in their only previous meeting with Hibs at Hampden, when Paul Hartley’s hat-trick helped them to a 4-0 win in the 2006 semi-final.  Hibs have lost all 4 neutral meetings between the clubs in major competitions.

For Hibernian, it was another miserable day in a tournament which hasn’t been kind to them.  They last won the trophy in 1902, and have lost in 9 finals since that success.  Only 5 clubs can better Hibs’ total of 12 appearances in the final, but their 2 victories leave them trailing behind Vale of Leven and Clyde, and equal with Renton, who folded  in 1922.  Only Rangers and Celtic have lost more finals than Hibs, but those two clubs have 68 successes between them.

Hearts used 24 different players in their seven matches, with Jamie MacDonald and Andy Webster being the only ones to play the full 660 minutes of the campaign.  Rudi Skacel was the only other player to appear in every game, starting six times and appearing as sub at home to St Mirren in the quarter-final.  There were 11 different nationalities represented at some point in the campaign, with players from Scotland, England, Ireland, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Spain, Australia, Poland, Morocco, Uganda and Germany appearing in at least one of the matches.

Denis Prychynenko spent the least time on the field, coming on for 13 minutes of the semi-final against Celtic.  He was an unused substitute for the final.  Substitute goalkeeper Mark Ridgers managed to get a medal without making a single appearance – he was on the bench for every single match of the campaign.

With five goals, including two in the final, Rudi Skacel finished the campaign as Hearts’ top goalscorer.  Skacel finished just one goal behind overall tournament top scorer, Jack Hay of Gala Fairydean, who scored a hat-trick in each of the first two rounds.  Craig Beattie and Jamie Hamill were the only other players to score more than a single goal for Hearts, with the remaining goals being spread around the squad.

The chart below summarises Hearts’ run in this season’s cup.  The white bars represent the amount of time a player spent on the pitch during a match, with yellow cards and goals represented by relevant images.  The green and white balls at Jamie MacDonald’s name represented the goals conceded by Hearts during the campaign.

About SPLstats
Providing statistics and trivia about Scottish football. Main focus is the SPL, but all Scottish football will be covered. Not affiliated to the SPL.

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