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Hibs 0 Dundee Utd 0 (4-2 on penalties): Conrad Logan shows it’s not over until the stout goalie saves

Conrad Logan celebrates (Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Conrad Logan celebrates (Clive Rose/Getty Images)

It should be called Panenka And The Incredible Bulk.

You just wouldn’t know who takes top billing.

Star of the show was the cuddly figure of Hibs’ debutant goalkeeper, Conrad Logan.

The former Leicester City man was playing a first-team match for the first time in 16 months yet delivered a man-of-the-match performance.

He denied Dundee United on several occasions during normal time and then produced two fabulous saves in the penalty shoot-out.

The game was decided by spot kicks because of Jason Cummings’ ridiculous miss from 12 yards after half-an-hour.

Cummings tried a little dink in the style of Czech player Antonín Panenka.

Back in 1976, Panenka chipped German goalkeeper Sepp Maier to win the European Championships for his nation.

In recent years it has become a fashionable way for the gallus striker to convert a penalty.

Cummings decided he would clip the ball over United keeper Kawashima after Donaldson was penalised for handling.

But the 20-year-old produced a Hampden moment that will never be forgotten – sending his effort sailing over the bar.

It seemed like another Hibs’ cup nightmare was about to unfold.

Jason Cummings' attempts a Panenka penalty (Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Jason Cummings’ attempts a Panenka penalty (Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Cummings could have been remembered as the player who threw away the chance to take his side to a Scottish Cup Final.

Thanks to Conrad Logan, he escaped that tag and got the chance to step up and stroke home the winning kick in the penalty shoot-out.

Losing regular No. 1 Mark Oxley to suspension looked like a major blow for the Hibees, but in Logan they found a superb replacement.

Although Hibs played the better football, Dundee United created the clear-cut chances.

On three occasions they were through on goal – twice it was Billy Mckay and once Henri Anier – but couldn’t beat the imposing figure between the posts.

He also showed there was more to his game than just standing big and narrowing the angle, when he got down swiftly to push away a John Rankin “squiggler.”

It was probably a surprise to many that two sides struggling for form served up an engrossing semi-final.

It didn’t look like an appealing fixture and the attendance of less than 20,000 shows both sets of fans are thoroughly cheesed off.

United look like they’re heading for automatic relegation, while Hibs’ bid to get second place in the Championship has been hit by an astonishing run of poor results.

However, football could have been invented to re-invigorate those who feel they’re in the depths of despair.

It’s supposed to be 90 minutes where you leave your worries behind.

There wasn’t a lot of quality football, certainly not much for Rangers or Celtic to worry about, but there were plenty of talking points.

There were major concerns about the newly relaid Hampden pitch, but neither side had any complaint.

Turf experts replaced the entire playing surface after last Sunday’s Petrofac Trophy Final and did a fine job.

Although the grass looked a little soft in places, the ball ran well and most players kept their footing quite comfortably.

United’s failure to string two passes together in the first half had nothing to do with the park.

The Tangerines made a very uncertain start and they looked particularly uncomfortable in defence.

Mixu Paatelainen’s decision to start the match with centre-back Callum Morris at right back was clearly a mistake.

Hibs had Gray and Henderson making regular raids down the flank against a player who looked very uncomfortable.

Paatelainen changed things after half an hour and brought on a natural No. 3 in Paul Dixon.

That helped stabilise things but it meant United were all out of replacements by the time Chris Erskine limped off with 15 minutes of normal time still to play.

You wondered if that would come back to haunt them.

For the second week in a row, there was the sight of a United centre-back leaving in the field in controversial circumstances.

Gavin Gunning was binned by the club after picking up the ball and walking off against Inverness Caley Thistle.

This time it was Coll Donaldson who left the field and had an angry exchange with his manager on the way to the bench.

It was all very embarrassing for the Tangerines as Donaldson’s replacement, Guy Demel, was still sitting with his tracksuit on.

Neither side could score in 120 minutes so the game was decided in the time-served, cruel fashion.

After the game he’d been having, it was really no surprise when Logan leapt acrobatically to save the first kick by Blair Spittal.

After McGinn scored for Hibs, Logan repeated his feat, blocking Mckay’s attempt.

Hanlon made it 2-0 Hibs before Dixon netted for United. Hibs’ Boyle and United’s Demel scored leaving Cummings to win the tie with a normal kick – stroking the ball into the corner of the net.

After all the strangeness and drama, who’d bet against Hibs ending their 114-year Scottish Cup hoodoo next month?