Lochee Harp 2, Thornton Hibs 4
On the face of it, a 4-2 win at Beechwood Park might be considered a decent result but the manner in which it was achieved did not please Craig Gilbert and his assistant Graeme Turnbull who let their players know, in no uncertain terms, as to how they felt after the game.
The visitors got off to a great start when Adam Drummond put the Hibs ahead in the sixth minute after Darren Brown had saved his first attempt.
Two minutes later, Harp were reduced to ten men when goalkeeper Brown was ordered off for handling outside the box despite desperate claims from the home players that the ref had called it wrong.
Conor Ireland was the unfortunate outfielder who got the hook to – eventually – allow substitute goalkeeper, Chris Hutchison, to enter the fray and Hutchison’s ‘warm-up’ consisted of picking the ball out of the back of the net after Garry Thomson’s screamer from 20 yards went in via the underside of the crossbar.
The day went from bad to worse for Harp when they had Alan McKay sent off in the 37th minute for bringing down Thomson just as the Hibs’ midfielder was poised to pull the trigger.
Four minutes before half-time, Hutchison got a big hand to Willie Clark’s rasping drive from distance but he was out of luck as Chris Ireland was perfectly placed to prod the loose ball over the line from close range.
So three up at half-time against nine men. ‘Job done’ must’ve been the thoughts of the visiting players as they completely took their feet off the gas and allowed Harp back into the game.
James Hay’s headed goal in the 55th minute reduced the deficit to two and when Dominic Blair capitalised on uncertainty in the Thornton defence in the 76th minute to net his team’s second, a real upset looked a distinct possibility.
After Ireland netted the Hibs’ fourth goal in the 83rd minute, the collective sigh of relief could’ve been heard in Memorial Park.
Window Store Hibs’ Man of the Match – Jack Wilson
Lochee Harp: Brown, McKay, McCabe, Kelly, Hay, Scrimgeour, C.Petrie, I.Petrie, McDonald, Ireland, G.Norrie. Subs: Blair, R.Norrie, Anderson, Hutchison.
Thornton Hibs: Rowbotham, Clark, Wilson, McGowan, Shields, Drummond, Gay, Hepburn, Ireland, McNab, Thomson. Subs: Adam, Gordon, Crichton, Trialist.
Referee: Mr G.Soutar