Hibernian 3 Gretna 1

Last updated : 03 February 2007 By Footymad Previewer
Maybe, just maybe, this will finally be the year that Hibs win their first Scottish Cup since 1902.

Things are certainly going their way at the moment as they rounded off a perfect week by reaching the quarter-finals just three days after making next month's CIS Cup final.

Manager John Collins agreed: "It completes a fantastic week for us with three victories and a cup final to look forward to. We are already in one final and now we are going for a second one, but we will just have to see what happens in the next couple of months.

"The first 20 minutes wasn't the greatest but the boys worked their socks off, stuck at it and went on to play some fantastic football in the second half."

Despite seeing their dreams of another run to Hampden ended last year's beaten finalists Gretna managed to avoid the 6-0 thrashing they suffered on their last visit to Easter Road.

Boss Rowan Alexander said: "I'm very proud of the boys. I thought they did fantastically well and created a few chances to go ahead, but it was just the final ball that let us down.

"But if James Grady had stuck that one away to make it 3-2 with ten minutes left, then who is to say what might have happened?

"Hibs are very slick and have a lot of good players who are creative and confident on the ball and are not afraid to express themselves.

"That's the sort of thing we aspire to but we came into the game very confident, we stuck to our gameplan and didn't allow Hibs to play for long periods.

"This just makes us even more hungry to go on and get promotion to achieve something that might not be achieved again."

Any tiredness Hibs might have been feeling after their extra-time win on Wednesday was increased by a heavy playing surface and a confident start made by their opponents.

Hibs also threatened to shoot themselves in the foot with Rob Jones forcing keeper Andy McNeil to sprint from his penalty area to deal with a short pass back.

A similar blunder by Steven Whittaker saw his sloppy clearance rattle off the shins of Alan Jenkins and beyond McNeil, but fractionally the wrong side of the post. McNeil then made an excellent save at full stretch from a sweetly struck 25-yarder by Craig Barr.

The home side promptly went ahead when Scott Brown's deep cross was headed home at the back post by Jones.

Goalkeeper Greg Fleming denied Hibs a second goal shortly before half-time as he blocked Steven Fletcher's low effort with his legs.

The Edinburgh club kept their foot flat on the pedal after the interval and moments after Brown had fired wide, super sub Abdessalam Benjelloun doubled Hibs' advantage.

He scrapped for possession inside the penalty area and then clipped the post with a left-foot shot. which hit Fleming's foot and rebounded into the net.

Gretna refused to give up and top scorer Colin McMenamin wasted a clear opportunity to pull one back, but Benjelloun's pace and trickery posed a constant threat and he made it 3-0 with a stunning left-foot rocket from the edge of the box.

Matthew Berkeley's low drive gave Gretna a glimmer of hope with ten minutes left and substitute Grady then shot wide after another bad mistake by Jones, but it could not mask the fact that Hibs were worthy winners.