Livingston made the short trip to Tynecastle in their last outing, as they did battle with Hearts for a place in the Scottish Cup Quarter Final.
The Lions were hoping to redeem themselves from a 3-0 defeat in Gorgie back in September, and had a much better start to the match as they showed attacking intent on the break.
Forrest’s perfectly weighted pass slipped in Bruce Anderson who beat the Hearts offside trap. The striker had Joel Nouble as an option to his left but went for goal himself, only to be denied by Scotland international Craig Gordon.
It was an early let off for the hosts who, as expected, went on to control the match with possession and chances.
Former Livi man Andy Halliday had claims for a penalty denied when he went down inside the box under the challenge of James Penrice. The full back’s sliding tackle knocked Halliday to the floor but it was executed exquisitely with the Livi defender taking all of the ball.
Hearts kept pushing for an opener, and had their best chance of the game towards the end of the first half. Barrie McKay found Ellis Simms who wriggled past Jack Fitzwater with some nice footwork, but the striker was denied from close range by Max Stryjek.
Despite Robbie Neilson’s side dominating the ball, they had very little to show for it as the game went on.
The next chance actually fell to the visitors who came agonisingly close to taking the lead. After some lovely build up play, James Penrice found Scott Pittman who fired towards goal. The midfielder’s effort took a big deflection off the foot of John Souttar, leaving goalkeeper Craig Gordon beaten. With the ten and a half thousand inside Tynecastle in anticipation, they watched Pittman’s strike kiss the inside of the post and fall into the arms of the Hearts goalkeeper.
The hosts came forward late on and Simms found himself one on one with Stryjek again after a fortunate deflection played him through. The striker went for power this time, but the Pole spread himself well to block from close range.
The Lions had the ball in the back of the net ten minutes from time when Penrice’s cross was tapped home by Cristian Montano, however the linesman had flagged for offside against the former.
The last big chance of normal time fell to Souttar who rose highest at a corner. The defender powered a header towards goal, but Stryjek matched the effort with an acrobatic save to tip over the bar.
The Livingston goalkeeper was busy again in extra time as Hearts pushed for a winner. McKay was causing problems again and whipped in a very dangerous delivery which found the head of Peter Haring, but the Austrian was denied by Stryjek who palmed away the powerful strike.
John Souttar came bursting forward from the heart of defence to create another opportunity for his side. He found Simms who teed up Liam Boyce, but the Northern Irishman sent his effort wayward.
Hearts had a couple of penalty claims when they felt the ball struck the arm of Andrew Shinnie and James Penrice on separate occasions, but the protests were waved away by referee Nick Walsh who blew for the end of 120 minutes. Penalties would decide the tie.
With over two hours of football played and no goals scored, Andrew Shinnie knew that he’d need to be the first man to burst the net at Tynecastle. The experienced midfielder stepped up and duly converted.
John Souttar was first up for Hearts, and he calmly sent Stryjek the wrong way from the spot.
Straight off the bench, Sean Kelly was up next for The Lions and he showed exactly why he was brought on to take a penalty as he perfectly dispatched into the bottom corner.
Peter Haring blasted his effort into the roof of the net to make it 2-2, before both Jason Holt and Ben Woodburn continued the perfect start to the shootout.
Cristian Montano was fourth up for Livi, and unfortunately the Colombian saw his effort from 12 yards cannon off the post with Craig Gordon claiming a touch.
Ellis Simms netted his penalty to give Hearts the advantage and put the pressure on Ayo Obileye who had to score. The defender couldn’t make amends for his late penalty miss against Ross County as he was denied by Craig Gordon, which sent the Jam Tarts through to the Quarter Final of the Scottish Cup.
It was a tough one to take for Livingston who had battled valiantly, and perhaps deserved to progress after a gritty, passionate performance against the Premiership’s 3rd placed side. Ultimately though it wasn’t to be, such is the cruelty of a penalty shootout.
Match Report: Calum Brown
Heart of Midlothian: Gordon ▊, Smith (Atkinson 71), Kingsley, Souttar, Baningime (Haring 71), Devlin ▊, Halliday (Boyce 59), Cochrane (Mackay-Steven 59), McKay, Simms, Sibbick
Subs not used: Stewart, McEneff, Woodburn, Moore, Ginnelly, Pollock
Penalties: Souttar, Haring, Woodburn, Simms
Livingston: Stryjek, Devlin, Fitzwater, Obileye, Penrice ▊, Holt, Omeonga (Kelly 119), Pittman (McMillan 119), Forrest (Bailey 100), Nouble (Shinnie 95), Anderson (Montaño 64)
Subs not used: Maley, Boyes, Longridge, Lewis, Sibbald, Chukwuemeka
Penalties: Shinnie, Kelly, Holt, Montaño, Obileye
Referee: Nick Walsh
HT: 0-0 | FT: 0-0