What is conclusive is that Hibernian will play BSC Glasgow in the last-16 of the Scottish Cup after overcoming Dundee United 4-2 in this captivating replay.

Lawrence Shankland being in the employ of the Championship leaders come Saturday morning remains an imponderable.

With scouts from the likes of Sheffield United, Queens Park Rangers and Stoke City looking on, the striker took his tally to 27 for the season with a sublime strike after 11 minutes to give the visitors the lead.

In the end, Christian Doidge stole his thunder, the Hibs striker notching a second half hat-trick.

Scott Allan brought the hosts level before the break from the penalty spot and Adrian Sporle briefly equalised for United after Doidge had given Hibs the lead for the first time.

“I would have preferred if he’d (Shankland) saved that until just after January, when the window is shut,” said United manager Robbie Neilson.

“We don’t have to sell any players. We’re financially stable, Lawrence is a major part of what we’re doing here, he’ll continue to be a part of that – and we’ll reassess where we are in the summer.”

A marauding run from Steven Whittaker that ended with the Hibs midfielder clipping the post with a low shot after four minutes set the tone for this breathless clash.

But United drew first blood. It just had to be Shankland. His strike was baffling and sublime in equal measure.

Central defender Adam Jackson inexplicably backed off as Shankland chested down Peter Pawlett’s pass in a central position on the edge of the box.

With the Hibs player desperately trying to make up lost ground, the marksman still had enough space to swivel and unleash a rising half-volley beyond Ofir Marciano.

Advantage United, although their lead was brittle. Goalkeeper Ben Siegrist was forced to get in the way of another Whittaker drive after the playmaker seized upon Mark Reynolds' loose pass.

Remarkably, it appeared Hibs had not learned their lesson after again failing to pay close attention to United’s prolific goal scorer.

Shankland peeled off inside the area to meet Pawlett’s corner but he could not keep his volley down.

Hibs then levelled four minutes before the break.

Calum Butcher upended Martin Boyle in the area and Allan sent the goalkeeper the wrong way from 12 yards.

Both teams were determined to have a go after the interval and that led to an engrossing half of football.

A further three goals were shared in a manic 13 minute period.

Doidge gave Hibs the lead on the hour mark with a simple tap in from close range after great work from Joe Newell to dig out a cross.

Back came United seven minutes later. Sporle, with his first touch since coming on, struck a defected first time drive past Marciano from Liam Smith’s delivery.

A strong finish from the hosts ensured Jack Ross’ side progressed. Doidge headed in a Newell corner in the 73rd minute before lashing in another set-piece delivery from the same player in injury time.

“Christian has been terrific since I came to the club,” said Hibs head coach Jack Ross, who played down the fact that Sunderland winger Aidan McGeady was an interested spectator.

“His scoring return over two and a half months has been excellent.”