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Leaders Hearts emerge from thriller with the points

Heart of Midlothian v Hibernian – William Hill Scottish Cup – Semi Final – Hampden Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Hearts maintained their advantage at the top of the Scottish Championship with a thrilling 5-3 victory over Ayr at Tynecastle.

Stephen Kingsley gave the home side the lead after 11 minutes, when his 25-yard free-kick snuck under Ayr goalkeeper Viljami Sinisalo.

Hearts continued to press – hitting the woodwork through Michael Smith – but fell behind to a quickfire double.

Cammy Smith pulled Ayr level on the half-volley in the 57th minute before Luke McCowan converted at the back post after being found by a deep cross (60).

But Hearts took only 11 minutes to reclaim the lead, with Craig Wighton firing home from Christophe Berra’s cut-back before Olly Lee smashed in the hosts’ third after Kingsley’s cross was only half cleared.

Wighton added his second of the match in the 74th minute, with Liam Boyce then wrapping up the three points thanks to a left-footed strike after good work by Wighton in the build-up.

Tom Walsh pulled a goal back for Ayr in the 90th minute, but the damage had already been done.