Goals: Heart of Midlothian 4-0 Auchinleck TalbotJunior side Auchinleck Talbot’s Scottish Cup adventure is over after they were comfortably beaten by Premiership side Hearts in the last 16.
Christophe Berra nodded in an early opener, then Demetri Mitchell’s tamely-struck effort then found the net.
Mitchell’s cross was tapped in by Steven Maclean before the break and the latter had a second disallowed.
Aidan Keena’s excellent solo effort rounded off the win before Stephen Wilson was denied a Talbot consolation.
The midfielder was adjudged to have been offside as he diverted Mark Shankland’s cross into the Hearts net three minutes from time.
Steven Naismith, Calumn Morrison and Uche Ikpeazu – impressive on his first start since an October foot injury – also came close for the hosts in an utterly dominant display, with Maclean, too, having a goal disallowed for offside.
Hearts played the final 12 minutes with 10 men when Michael Smith was forced off injured after Craig Levein had made all three of his substitutes.
The Hearts boss later said Smith could face “anything between six and 12 weeks” out with a suspected torn muscle in his thigh.
‘Talbot leave with pride intact’ – analysis
BBC Scotland’s Brian McLauchlin at Tynecastle
The near-2,000 fans who travelled through from Ayrshire certainly enjoyed their day, but there was never any real chance of them heading back home having seen another major Scottish Cup shock.
Levein had watched the juniors knock seven past Petershill last weekend and his players had been well warned about their strengths and weaknesses, but the Talbot players left with their dignity and pride intact after a performance that was full of energy. That said, the scoreline could have been even more emphatic if it had not been for some terrific stops by goalkeeper Andy Leishman.
The return of striker Ikpeazu after three months out gave Hearts a focal point and, combined with the pace and skill of Sean Clare and Mitchell, there was a constant flow of attacks.
‘Mission’ accomplished – reaction
Smith injury a sour note – LeveinHearts manager Craig Levein: “The mission was to get through and we’ve done that. I felt we would score if we did things properly from the beginning.
“We had some good play, scored some good goals. Second half, they started to think it was easy and we were giving up simple passes to try things that were more difficult, but that happens.”
Auchinleck Talbot manager Tommy Sloan: “I couldn’t fault their effort. I was disappointed in the manner of the first goal – their biggest boy heads it into the net. We lost a poor goal very early.
“There was a gulf in class in the first half, they were very sharp and Ikpeazu makes a real difference to their side. We certainly had a few opportunities to score in the second half. A lot of positives.”
‘In a sick way, I was enjoying it’ – Auchinleck boss Sloan