Unbeaten Cups Run Continues

Raith Rovers went to Easter Road hoping to end a poor run of six games without a win.  However, the Rovers were unbeaten in normal time after eight Cup games, losing only to Hearts on penalties.  A healthy and vocal Rovers support travelled over the water, hoping for a return to good form despite Calum Elliot joining the injury list and John Baird being cup tied.  It was, however, pleasing to see Paul Watson doing some work pre-match.  The Rovers lined up 4-5-1, with Spence the lone man up top in light rain and a bit of a breeze.

Moon smashes in opener

The home side welcomed three new signings to their squad, which sits 7th in the Premier.  In the first minute, the ball was replayed into the box where Collins only had Ross Laidlaw to beat to open the scoring.  The young keeper, however, made a great reflex block to deny the Hibs man.  The resulting corner was scrambled away and a shot was fired over into the Rovers' support behind the goal.

Joe Cardle over hit a free kick into the home box then the Rovers opened the scoring.  Cardle received the ball wide and, not cutting inside, went down the line before crossing.  The ball was half cut out but fell to Kevin Moon, who leathered it low into the far bottom corner from 15 yards.  Laidlaw claimed a header from a free kick as the home side tried to equalise.  The home side pushed on and the Rovers struggled to handle them, with Watmore making a couple of threatening runs.  The Sunderland loanee looked lively throughout and Booth, rightly, received a yellow card for taking him down as the winger got past him.   The home pressure paid off in the 13th minute when Sam Stanton fired in a cracking 20 yard shot off the post, with Laidlaw helpless.

The Rovers tried to respond and Spence was booked for a foul on Whatmore.  The home side was dictating a high pace but, at times, play was sloppy, although the Rovers continued to work hard.  Collins was crowded out in the box then Grant Anderson won a couple of headers, just before Cardle’s curling cross eluded Spence.  From a corner, a Hibs man headed over then Donaldson blocked a 23 yard effort from Whatmore.

It's Super Douglas Hill

Around the half hour, the Rovers managed to get a couple of balls into the box, but they were too strong.  Callachan skipped down the by-line and snuck a low ball into the six yard box, where Williams got to it just before Spence claimed it at the second attempt.  Spence harried the Hibs defence and Callachan almost capitalised, firing a great shot from 22 yards, which was touched onto the near post, bouncing away to safety.  The Rovers continued to push but the good spell came to an end when Donaldson took a heavy head knock in the 35th minute.  Young Reece was carefully stretchered off and replaced by Fraser Mullen, who went on at right back and Jason Thomson moved to centre half.

After the restart, the Rovers scored a second in very unusual circumstances.  A ball back into the box found the inrushing Dougie Hill alone, six yards out, where he acrobatically poked the ball past the exposed Williams.  The Rovers fans reacted and then stopped seeing the assistant referees flag up on the far side.  However, the well-positioned referee pointed to the centre circle as the Rovers players celebrated and the Hibs and Rovers fans wondered what had happened.  From the back of the main stand, it looked offside but talk at the break mentioned a Hibernian head flicking the ball on and there was little reaction from the Hibs side.  It was probably the least celebrated Rovers goal in years but it stood.  1:2.

Within a minute, the home side were level again.  A deep corner was met by the head of Michael Nelson, who headed powerfully into the net.  In the several minutes of added time, the home side gave the Rovers a torrid time and Taiwo had a go from 19 yards, with his effort being headed away by Hill.

The Rovers started the second half well, after Stanton shot wide, with Callachan looking like he was pushing on more from his midfield role.  Anderson and Callachan combined well to play in Moon at the near post butWilliams blocked his effort, which rebounded off the Raith man and went wide.  Dougie Hill, who had £200k man Collins in his pocket, claimed the ball again and moved forward, resulting in Callachan having another go, although it wasn't as close as his previous effort.

Just after the hour, Terry Butcher made a double change, trying to get ahead of his former employers.  Collins and Harris were removed with Zoubir and Haynes coming on.  The former England captain certainly wouldn't have planned on the Rovers taking the lead for the third time, just moments later.  Cardle’s cross found Grant Anderson, whose back header from seven yards found the back of the net unhindered.  The Rovers support, only feet away, went wild and Grant scampered away with a Thinkeresque celebration.

Greig Spence was replaced by Gordon Smith and Tiawo was booked for a bad foul on Moon.  Liam Craig gifted the ball to Callachan at midfield but Smith failed to capitalise on the home captain's slip.  The home side continued to play high tempo football but, too often, they made mistakes as the home fans got more and more frustrated.  A free kick was headed over then Zoubir dragged his effort wide.  An over hit forward ball into the box was collected by Laidlaw under no pressure as booing came from the home stands.

Dougie and Grant celebrate the second goal

Laurie Ellis replaced Dougie Hill in the third alteration to the visitors' back four of the match.  Cardle shot into the side netting and the lively Haynes, up front, barely connected with a dangerous cross and it was another easy collection for Laidlaw.  Fox was the third Rover booked for fouling Watmore then Laidlaw pushed away the well-worked resultant free kick.  As the home side pushed forward, a looping header took an age to bounce off the bar and clear as everyone looked on.

At the other end, or rather midfield, Smith was played in and ran on from an onside position, looping the ball up and over the outrushing Williams.  As the Rovers support tried to suck the bouncing ball into the empty net, a Hibs man managed to hoof it away.  As time ticked by, substitute Heffernan was played in but Laidlaw was, yet again, more than equal to the effort, saving well low to the right.  Watmore, who’d taken up good positions and not been used as much as he could, switched sides and jinked into the box before being tackled and the well positioned referee awarded a corner.

As the urgency in the home side increased, Callachan almost ran on for another effort but it was Haynes who next had a go.  The loan signing from Notts County fired in a low shot, which Laidlaw again saved low, this time to the left.  Callachan was booked then Hibs forced three corners and a free kick was played and fired harmlessly over, which proved to be the last straw for many Hibs fans.  With three minutes injury time declared, a header in the 48th second of the 47th minute was saved low by Laidlaw and, with the resulting ball upfield in the air, the referee blew the final whistle. is now!

The Rovers fans, staff and players alike celebrated a great result as the home fans and players walked away with their heads down.  Applauding the fans behind the goal, the players deserved the ovation they received, particularly Callachan and Laidlaw who were outstanding.  Hopefully, Reece Donaldson, who’d done well before being carried off, will also be able to enjoy the result.

Many Rovers' fans will have been very pleasantly surprised by the performance but the win was deserved and the Quarter Finals await.

Report - John Mainland, Picture - Eddie Doig


Copyright Eddie Doig


Highlights courtesy of the Scottish FA.

Live Updates

Greig Spence starts as the lone striker
Hibs force a corner. Shot blocked by Laidlaw. Another corner
Cardle wins a free kick wide left
Over hit and drifts out for a goal kick
Rovers 1-0 up. Cardle crosses and the balls swept in
Fox with the goal we think. Tbc
Hibs keeping the pressure on after the goal. Watmore wins a fk
Craig's low fk easily cleared.
Hibs corner. Hill deflects a shot wide with his chest
Low shot from distance beats Laidlaw for the equaliser
Stanton with the Hibs equaliser.
Correction: Moon with the Rovers goal
Rovers fk after Spence is felled
Cardles effort cleared to Thomson but he overcooks the delivery. Goal kick
Moon tries to release Cardle on the breakaway but his through ball is overhit
Booths cross flicked goalwards but Williams gathers
Hibs corner. Headed way over by Nelson
Spence hauled back on the breakaway. Nothing given
Hibs enjoying the majority of possession but doing nothing with it
Good Fox cross, but no-one on the end of it
Cardle fk from the right straight at Williams
Rovers pressing forward more now, but no clear chances to show for it
Spoke too soon - Moon hits the post with the keeper beaten
Hill close with a diving header, Donaldson flat out in the six yard box in the melee that followed
Hill close with a diving header, Donaldson flat out in the six yard box in the melee that followed
Mullen on for Donaldson - he's going off on a stretcher, looks a bad one
Thomson into the middle with Mullen going to right back
GOAL RAITH! Mullen'slow cross turned in - not sure who by!
GOAL HIBS! Neilson equalises straight away with a free header from a corner :-(
+ 2 Rovers' second goal was scored by Hill I'm told
+ 3 Hill with a good block to keep it level
+ 4 Half time. Pulsating. Hibs started and finished the half well, but very even in between.
Hill with Rovers 2nd goal
Rovers attack from the kick off. Cardles cross headed clear
Long distance Hibs shot narrowly wide
Great hold up play by Spence ends with Moon having a smart shot saved by Williams
Smart play by Rovers down the right. Callachan forces the throw
Hibs resorting to hoofing the ball out of defence
Rovers dominating play so far this half
Callachan shoots narrowly wide
Spence exerts pressure on the right. Nelson concedes the throw
Persistent play by Anderson allows Mullen a cross. Cleared by the Hibs defence
Collins off, Haynes on
Hibs introduce two subs, details to follow.
Goal Rovers, Cardle with an assist, Anderson heads home from close range.
Hamlin clears a fine cross from Cardle.
Hill fouls Harris, free kick from thirty yards, headed over the bar at the back post.
Laidlaw dives to collect a Watmore low drive.
Smith harassing the Hibs defence.
Watmore off, Heffernan on.
Hill off, Ellis on
Cardle is released from the halfway line, runs twenty yards and hits the side net.
Smith works well to cross from the right, alas there were no takers.
Hibs free kick from thirty yards, Heffernan shoots through a sea of legs for Laidlaw to dive to his left and palm out for a corner.
Smith one on one against the keeper sends the ball a foot wide from fifteen yards.
Laidlaw pulls of an heroic save, diving to his left to deny the on rushing Heffernan.
Hibs shout for a penalty, the ref lets play continue.
Laidlaw pulls of yet another class save, come on the Rovers.
Two minutes to go, Raith are digging in.
Raith concede two corners on he trot, finally the ball is cleared.
Three added minutes.
90+ 2 Laidlaw with another sterling effort and the ref blows for full time.