Hibernian vs. Ayr United
William Hill Scottish Cup Quarter-Final
Saturday 4th March 2017
On Saturday, Ayr United look to cause a shock when they travel to Edinburgh to face the holders Hibernian in the quarter-finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup.
United go into the game on the back of their first league win since mid-October after beating a beleaguered Raith Rovers on Tuesday but saw bottom side St. Mirren quickly close the gap to five points once again with a comfortable 2-0 win against Hibs in a match described by Neil Lennon as his side’s poorest performance of the season.
The Opposition: Neil Lennon moved quickly to address a defensive crisis this week, signing Efe Ambrose on loan from Celtic and former Ross County centre-back Brian McLean, following his brief spell in Singapore. Paul Hanlon, Liam Fontaine and Jordon Forster all missed Hibs’ match in Paisley on Wednesday through injury, while Darren McGregor is suspended for Saturday’s game.
The Road to Hampden: Ayr United have made hard work of despatching three lower league sides in the competition so far to reach the quarter-final, beating Brechin City, Queen’s Park on penalties after a replay at Hampden Park and extra-time still couldn’t separate the sides and Clyde, also after extra-time.
Hibernian haven’t yet left the capital in their attempt to retain the Scottish Cup. They comfortably dispatched Junior outfit Bonnyrigg Rose in the fourth round with a 8-1 win at Tynecastle before returning to Gorgie to face Hearts in the fifth round. After a typically cagey Edinburgh derby the tie went to a replay in which Hibs raced to a three-goal lead and comfortably held on for a 3-1 win.
Team News: Farid El Alagui is cup tied. Robbie Crawford, Peter Murphy, Jamie Adams, Paul Cairney and Declan McDaid are out with injuries.
Ian McCall says: “It is the Quarter Final of the Scottish Cup which is always a huge occasion and we are delighted to be there. We want to go and enjoy the occasion however the enjoyment comes from getting a result and that is exactly what we are going there for. We have been to Easter Road twice this season and come away with a win and a draw however that will have absolutely no bearing on this match. The twice we have been there our fans have been brilliant and I imagine there will be more of them there this time and I am sure they will help us with the usual noisy backing. We have quite a few injuries at the moment however it gives a great chance for some other players to show what they can do.”
Head-to-Head (Scottish Cup):
Ayr United wins – 1
Draws – 1
Hibernian wins – 4
It was goalless the last time the sides met at Easter Road in the Scottish Cup in January 2011, Ayr winning the replay 1-0 at Somerset Park. The tables were turned the following season, when the Hibees won 2-0.
Saturday will be the 50th meeting between the sides at Easter Road in all competitions. The Honest Men’s only cup win away to Hibs was also in a quarter-final tie – the League Cup in October 198o. The sides drew 2-2 in the first leg at Somerset Park but Ayr won through to the semi-final with a 2-0 win in Leith.
Last meeting: Robbie Crawford scored a stunning solo goal in just the 4th minute when the sides met at Easter Road one month ago but the Honest Men couldn’t hold on to the lead, Jason Cummings equalising midway through the second-half for the home side.
United famously won at Easter Road earlier in the season, coming back from a one goal deficit to beat 10 men Hibs 2-1, Conrad Balatoni and Brian Gilmour getting Ayr’s goals.
Referee – Nick Walsh
Assistant Referee 1 – Andrew McWilliam
Assistant Referee 2 – Anthony Cooper
Fourth Official – Alan Muir
Adults – £20
Concessions – £10
Ayr supporters can purchase tickets on Saturday from 1.30pm on the day of the match at the South Stand ticket pod which is where our support will be on the day, the same as the two league matches this season.