By: Hibernian Media on 21 May, 2016 19:02
The Hibernian team of 2016 etched their names into the history books on Saturday afternoon by defeating Rangers 3-2 at Hampden Park and winning the William Hill Scottish Cup, writes Richard Payne.
Over a century of hurt was washed away in 90 minutes as Alan Stubbs side created history at the National Stadium.
Anthony Stokes got Hibernian off to the perfect start when he fired them ahead after only three minutes before Kenny Miller and Andy Halliday turned the tie on its head.
That is until late on when Stokes scored his second of the afternoon to level it before captain and talisman David Gray nodded home a dramatic winner to spark scenes of wild celebration.
There were two changes to the Hibernian line-up following their last outing with Liam Fontaine and Jason Cummings replacing Liam Henderson and James Keatings.
The Easter Road men got off to a dream start when John McGinn held of a couple of challenges before finding Cummings, he fed Stokes on the left and the Irishman drove into the Rangers penalty box before firing beyond Wes Foderingham to score.
Hibernian were flying and had a good chance to extend their lead soon after when Cummings' close range shot was blocked and Stokes' effort from the rebound was deflected wide.
In the 10th minute Cummings raced in behind the Rangers defence but a heavy touch when trying to take it round Danny Wilson allowed the defender to clear.
Rangers had their first opportunity at goal moments later from a free kick on the edge of the Hibernian penalty box however Halliday's strike was blocked by the defensive wall.
Hibernian were quickly back on the offensive with Stokes drawing a save from Foderingham before McGinn’s dink landed on the roof of the net.
Against the run of play Rangers levelled as James Tavernier’s cross from the right saw Miller rise above Darren McGregor and the former Hibernian player’s header gave Conrad Logan no chance.
The equaliser was a bitter pill for Hibernian to swallow having dominated the opening stages however the Easter Road men almost immediately restored their lead as Stokes’ powerful 25-yard shot slammed into Foderingham’s near post with the goalkeeper beaten.
The Hibernian goal then survived a major scare of their own when Miller was allowed to connect unchallenged with a Barrie McKay corner kick and his header crashed back off the crossbar.
A pulsating opening 45 minutes would come to a close with Hibernian on top and carving out a number of opportunities.
The first came when Stokes peeled off the left flank before beating Tavernier and shooting for the near post - only for the fingertips of Foderingham to push it around the post for a corner kick.
Then a dummy from Liam Fontaine carved open Rangers, allowing Cummings in, however Foderingham again saved.
In the final opportunity of the first half McGregor’s cross from the right flashed across the face of the Rangers goal before the stretching Stokes headed wide.
The on-loan Celtic striker had the first opportunity of the second half when he picked up the ball wide left before unleashing a powerful drive that kicked up just in front of Foderingham, who did well to push it round the post for a corner kick.
Hibernian kept pressing and from a McGinn free kick Fontaine was just off target with a diving header.
Out of nothing Rangers took the lead when Halliday unleashed a stunning left foot drive that fizzed past Logan into the far corner of the net.
Hibernian introduced Liam Henderson and James Keatings, whilst moving to a 4-4-2 formation, and it paid off in the 79th minute when Henderson’s corner kick was headed in at the near post by Stokes.
From then on in there was only going to be one winner and in the 92nd minute a driven Stokes cross was pushed away for a corner kick by the fingertips of Foderingham.
From the set piece, again delivered by Henderson, Gray rose highest to power home a header that broke Rangers’ hearts and ended over a century of hurt down Leith.
Details of the Club’s planned celebrations will be published shortly.
Glory, Glory, to the Hibees!
Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, Kiernan, Wallace, Zelalem (Shiels 62’), Miller, Halliday, McKay, Holt, Wilson, Waghorn (Clark 74’). Substitutes not used: Bell, Law, Burt.
Hibernian: Logan, Gray, Hanlon (Gunnarsson 82’), Fontaine (Henderson 70’), Fyviue, McGeouch, Stevenson, McGinn, McGregor, Stokes, Cummings (Keatings 65’). Substitutes not used: Oxley, Bartley, Boyle, Dagnall.
Referee: Steven McLean.