Neilson wants Hearts to ‘make history’


Robbie Neilson wants Hearts to “make some history” after they edged a thrilling tie against St Mirren to become the first team through to the Scottish Cup semi-finals.

Beni Baningime, Peter Haring, Aaron McEneff and Ellis Simms scored as Neilson’s men eventually prevailed 4-2.

Eamonn Brophy’s strike and Connor Ronan’s stunning 30-yarder had brought the visitors level from two down.

“We want to win matches, we want to win cups,” Neilson told BBC Scotland.

“We want to try and make some history. We’ve still got two more games to go.”

Hearts won the Scottish Cup for the eighth time in 2012 and last reached the final in 2020.

The draw for the last four takes place after Monday’s tie between Dundee United and Celtic, with Motherwell hosting Hibernian and Rangers visiting Dundee in Sunday’s quarter-finals.

Hearts were without regular starters John Souttar and Cammy Devlin and listed youngsters Mackenzie Kirk, Luke Rathie and Macaulay Tait on the bench.

And there was a worrying moment for manager Neilson in the opening minutes when Craig Halkett collided with Brophy and had to have a head gash bandaged up. Brophy also received treatment.

The home side soon settled and took the lead after Barrie McKay found Simms in the six-yard box. The striker could not force the ball past Jak Alnwick but Baningime arrived to apply a firm finish – his first Hearts goal.

St Mirren responded by loading the Hearts box at a throw-in and Scott Tanser’s dangerous-looking shot ricocheted off a couple of bodies and prompted faint calls for handball.

Jordan Jones then crossed low for Greg Kiltie but he could not keep his effort down, to the relief of the home defence. Manager Stephen Robinson later said there had been a foul on Kiltie after he took the shot.

But the visitors were undone by a sweeping move as Liam Boyce found Ben Woodburn on the right and his square pass was knocked high into the net by Haring.

Robinson’s side responded again and this time were able to find the net in style. Richard Tait sent a lovely ball in from the right and Brophy’s outstretched foot carried it past Craig Gordon.

Gordon had to look lively at the visitors’ next attack as Brophy’s head connected with a Jones free-kick.

A hugely entertaining first half had another big moment when Halkett rattled the St Mirren crossbar after Boyce’s overhead kick had been blocked.

Alnwick was called into action twice in quick succession after the interval, blocking Nathaniel Atkinson’s shot then shifting direction to palm over a deflected Woodburn effort.

Gordon was equally astute to get strong hands behind Jones’ shot then Kiltie’s header.

But the Scotland goalkeeper could only look on in horror as Ronan collected a cleared corner on the right, around 30 yards from goal, and lifted his shot into the opposite corner. A truly incredible strike.

It was game on again and Andy Halliday played a one-two with Boyce before drawing a brave save from Alnwick.

McEneff was introduced in place of Woodburn and arrived at just the right moment to score Hearts’ third. Atkinson did well to get away from Jones and cut back, with the ball deflected into McEneff’s path for him to improvise a shot with his thigh.

Haring headed over and Stephen Kingsley’s free-kick was touched wide by Alnwick as Hearts finished strongly, culminating in Simms converting a McEneff delivery at the front post to finally put the result beyond doubt.

Man of the match – Peter Haring

What they said

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson: “It was a great game, a proper cup tie. I was right behind that second goal for St Mirren – I don’t think I’ve seen a better one in my time here.

“Really pleased to get through. Over the course, the chances created, clear cut chances, we probably deserved to win.”

St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson: “We got back to 2-2 with an absolute wonder goal. You need to hold it for five, 10 minutes, calm the crowd down. We didn’t do the basics right in the defensive side of things for the third goal.

“We should’ve had a penalty. It looks like a stonewall penalty on Greg Kiltie. Ultimately, if you concede four goals, you’re not going to win the game. We ran out of a little bit of steam in the last 15 minutes.”

What’s next?

Both clubs return to Scottish Premiership action with home matches next Saturday, Hearts facing Livingston and St Mirren hosting Dundee United (both 15:00 GMT).

Player of the match

HalkettCraig Halkett

Heart of Midlothian

  1. Squad number19Player nameHalkett

  2. Squad number8Player nameMcEneff

  3. Squad number6Player nameBaningime

  4. Squad number1Player nameGordon

  5. Squad number5Player nameHaring

  6. Squad number18Player nameMcKay

  7. Squad number10Player nameBoyce

  8. Squad number3Player nameKingsley

  9. Squad number12Player nameAtkinson

  10. Squad number20Player nameSimms

  11. Squad number16Player nameHalliday

  12. Squad number9Player nameWoodburn

  13. Squad number21Player nameSibbick

St Mirren

  1. Squad number43Player nameRonan

  2. Squad number9Player nameBrophy

  3. Squad number13Player nameGogic

  4. Squad number6Player namePower

  5. Squad number7Player nameJones

  6. Squad number2Player nameTait

  7. Squad number21Player nameGreive

  8. Squad number12Player nameHenderson

  9. Squad number18Player nameDunne

  10. Squad number1Player nameAlnwick

  11. Squad number11Player nameKiltie

  12. Squad number22Player nameFraser

  13. Squad number3Player nameTanser

  14. Squad number4Player nameShaughnessy



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Gordon
  • 12Atkinson
  • 19Halkett
  • 3Kingsley
  • 16Halliday
  • 5Haring
  • 6BaningimeBooked at 40mins
  • 9WoodburnSubstituted forMcEneffat 67′minutes
  • 10Boyce
  • 18McKaySubstituted forSibbickat 90+3′minutes
  • 20Simms


  • 8McEneff
  • 13Stewart
  • 15Moore
  • 21Sibbick
  • 44Kirk
  • 47Rathie
  • 49Tait

St Mirren

Formation 4-5-1

  • 1Alnwick
  • 2Tait
  • 4Shaughnessy
  • 18Dunne
  • 3TanserSubstituted forFraserat 53′minutes
  • 11KiltieSubstituted forHendersonat 75′minutes
  • 43Ronan
  • 6Power
  • 13GogicSubstituted forGreiveat 75′minutes
  • 7Jones
  • 9Brophy


  • 5McCarthy
  • 8Flynn
  • 10Main
  • 12Henderson
  • 16Erhahon
  • 21Greive
  • 22Fraser
  • 26Lyness
  • 39Smith

Bobby Madden


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