Braces from Abi Harrison and Joelle Murray in the first half helped Hibernian defeat Celtic 5-0 in the SSE Scottish Cup Third Round. Playing their first game since the Champions League Qualifying Group, Hibernian returned to domestic football quickly, with Harrison opening the scoring in the 8th minute with a looping header. Their second came midway through the first half from a Murray free-kick, and late on, Hibs’ captain headed in her second to make it 3-0. On the stroke of half-time, Harrison finished a quick break to score her second and Hibs’ fourth. And then, three minutes into the second half, Lisa Robertson header completed the home scoring for the home side.
Although the scoreline seems one-sided, Hibs required their keeper Jenna Fife to make a couple of outstanding saves – particularly from Cheryl McCulloch’s close-range shot when the score was 2-0.
The win sees Hibernian host Glasgow Girls in the Quarter-Finals next Sunday.
Harrison Puts Hibs In Front
Hibernian started the game strongly, with Abi Harrison and Emma Brownlie both missing the target with efforts – but it was Celtic who really should have opened the scoring. An early cross from Sarah Ewens found Suzanne Mulvey in the box, but the Celtic forward failed to make a clean contact and Jenna Fife made an easy save.
And then, Hibernian took the lead in the 8th minute. Celtic’s keeper Megan Cunningham failed to get any power on a punch as she tried to clear a corner, Joelle Murray hooked the ball back into the box where Harrison’s looping header found the back of the net, despite the keeper getting her hand to it.
Hibs were keeping up the pressure, but Celtic was still posing a threat on the counter. Ewens beat two defenders before breaking into the Hibs’ box before shooting, but her effort was saved by Fife at the near post.
The home side nearly got their second, but neither Lisa Robertson or Amy Gallacher could get on the end of Harrison’s cross.
Murray Doubles Hibs’ Lead
And then it was 2-0. After Harrison was fouled by Celtic’s captain Kelly Clark, Hibs’ captain Murray took the free-kick and drove the ball around the wall and into the bottom-right corner.
Soon after, Celtic had a glorious chance to pull a goal back. Georgie Rafferty’s corner was whipped to the far post where Cheryl McCulloch’s volley looked like it was going in, but Fife tipped the ball over.
But it was still Hibernian who were on top. Gallacher had a deflected effort saved by Megan Cunningham, and the Celtic keeper had to be brave to deny Katey Turner.
Hibs Score Two Late Goals In First Half
However, in the 41st minute, Hibernian scored their third goal. Rachel Small had a shot saved from close-range, but from the resulting corner taken by Gallacher, Joelle Murray’s header found the top-right corner.
There should have been a fourth, when from a free-kick Harrison, first of all, had a shot blocked and then her volley smashed off the crossbar.
But then it was 4-0. Cheryl McCulloch was robbed in possession, and Hibs broke quickly with Harrison played behind the Celtic defence, and she picked out the bottom-left corner.
Robertson Makes It Five
Three minutes into the second half, Hibs scored their fifth goal. Harrison’s cross found Lisa Robertson who had made a late run to head the ball past the keeper.
Hibernian will still on top, with Gallacher and Harrison having decent chances, but as the half wore on, the more Celtic started to come into the game – especially after the introduction of five substitutes.
Celtic Improve Late On
One of those substitutes, Heather Richards, nearly pulled a goal back after the Hibs’ defence switched off, but Fife recovered to save her shot.
Another substitute Kirsty Howat had a couple of dangerous crosses, but both times, no teammate could get on the end of it. And then, from a corner, Ruesha Littlejohn had the time to compose herself on the edge of the box, but she shot just wide of the left post.
And late on, Natalie Ross had a shot saved low down by Fife.
Hibernian: Jenna Fife; Cailin Michie (Chelsea Cornet HT), Joelle Murray, Emma Brownlie, Kirsty Smith (Shannon Leishman 57); Rachel Small, Lisa Robertson, Lucy Graham (Ellis Notely 73); Amy Gallacher, Katey Turner (Lia Tweedie 57), Abi Harrison.
Goals: Abi Harrison 8, 45; Joelle Murray 22, 41; Lisa Robertson 48.
Celtic: Megan Cunningham (Kiera Gibson 60); Alex Middleton (Nina Fitzsimmons 60), Kelly Clark, Cheryl McCulloch, Jamie-Lee Napier; Georgie Rafferty (Rachel Connor 60), Natalie Ross; Sarah Ewens, Ruesha Littlejohn, Hayley Cunningham (Kirsty Howat 60); Suzanne Mulvey (Heather Richards 60)
Booked: Natalie Ross