Ugly win sees Hibs through to next round of Scottish

Chris Ireland hits the opener
Chris Ireland hits the opener

Thornton Hibs 2, Ashfield 1

In cup-ties – and especially Scottish Cup ones – the main priority is to get into the draw for the next round.

In that respect, the Hibs players did as was asked of them, but, oh dear, this wasn’t what Pele was watching when he described football as ‘the beautiful game’.

Nonetheless, Stevie Leslie’s pass was inch-perfect for his strike partner, Chris Ireland, to put the Hibs into the lead on the half-hour mark. Not long at the back of that, Kris Griffin had a golden opportunity to give the visitors from Glasgow an equaliser but he blazed the ball wide of its intended target.

In the 36th minute, Ashfield were reduced to 10 men after Luke Tolland’s act of petulance – he booted Stevie Leslie on the leg in full view of the referee – earned him a straight red card.

Despite being a man down, Ashfield began the second-half in determined fashion and penned the Hibs back in their own half for long periods.

However, in a quick break on the hour mark, Stevie Leslie won his side a penalty-kick after he was chopped down in the box by Paul McLaughlin. Chris Ireland took it and sent Scott Somerville the wrong way to make it 2-0.

To compound matters for Ashfield, McLaughlin, who was already on a yellow card, received a second one after some indiscipline.

In the 90th minute, Shaun Fraser shot wide when it looked easier to score and then, deep into extra-time, Fraser Barbour powered home a deserved consolation strike.

As is the norm on Scottish Cup day, some former Hibs players made an effort to come and see the team play.

There were quite a few there on Saturday, including Derry Wallace from the 1960s, Jimmy Thomson from the 1980s and John Wright from the noughties.

Window Store Hibs’ man of the match – Chris Ireland.

Thornton Hibs - Rowbotham, Gordon, Adam, McGowan, Shields, McNeill, Gay, Hepburn, Ireland, Leslie, Thomson. Subs: Morgan, McNab, Clark, Crichton, Young.