HIBS booked their spot in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup last night with a hard-fought victory over Cove Rangers.

It was far from a straight-forward tie though, as last season’s cup runners-up required extra-time to see off Paul Hartley’s League One leaders.

Substitute Kevin Nisbet bagged the winner deep into the additional 30, as Shaun Maloney and the home crowd breathed a huge sigh of relief.

They had to do it without star man Martin Boyle – who has sealed a life-changing move to the Middle East.

Saudi club Al-Faisaly returned with a third bid – believed to be close to the £3million mark - for the Australia international, having previously had £2.5million rejected by Easter Road chiefs.

Maloney revealed that the deal was “progressing”, and that more informational would be available in the next 24 to 48 hours.

His absence allowed for a couple of debuts in the shape of Ewan Henderson and Chris Mueller on the wings.

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Cove – who were without experienced campaigners Iain Vigurs and Shay Logan – set up with five at the back, sitting in a rigid shape while out of possession. There were clear trigger points for the League One side though, with their attackers and midfield putting pressure on their hosts around the half-way line and particularly on full-backs Chris Cadden and Josh Doig. On the ball, they looked to hit the striker’s feet, while getting bodies around Mitch Megginson and Leighton McIntosh, moving it well and composed.

The first real chance didn’t occur until 20-minutes in. A poor pass from keeper Kyle Gourlay led to Harry Milne mis-controlling the ball on the edge of the Cove box. This allowed Mueller to nip in, dragging the ball on to his left before forcing Gourlay into a decent save.

The home side fashioned another opportunity minutes later. Henderson cut in from the left to deliver an inviting cross for Christian Doidge to pounce on, but his header went wide of the post.

Cove had their first shot on the half-hour mark, as Milne tested Matt Macey after the ball dropped to him following a corner clearance.

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Doidge had the ball in the net after Fraser Fyvie was caught on the ball by Josh Campbell, but he was adjudged to be offside. It looked a debateable call.

Into the second-half and the visitors piled on form early pressure from various set-piece situations. The goal wasn’t seriously threatened from any, but they were growing in confidence.

Before the hour-mark, some neat play down the left saw the ball swung in for Megginson. The striker worked the space well, shifting the ball on to his left before firing a shot at Macey who saved. Jamie Masson they saw his follow-up effort blocked by Melker Hallberg. Masson would have another pop later, but he was too far out to trouble the keeper.

The home support grew restless, as Maloney subbed on Nisbet and Jamie Murphy to step up the pace.

Cadden whipped in a wicked delivery from the by-line, but there were no takers. He busted down the right yet again to provide an excellent delivery, but Morgyn Neill cleared.

It turned into one-way traffic for the home outfit, but Cove defended valiantly as they forced extra-time.

After very few chances in the added 30, Nisbet had a wonderful opportunity to score at the start of the second period, but he dragged his shot wide.

The marksman would amend for that shortly after though and eventually get the all-important break through for Hibs.

Some sustained pressure saw Hibs recycle the ball well in the attacking third. Joe Newell slipped in Josh Doig in the box. His hit cut back was perfectly weighted for Nisbet to stride on to and stroke home the winner.

It was a long night for the Easter Road side, but they got there in the end. Cove competed well at this level and will take great pride from their efforts.