Hearts turned rivals Hibs over for the second time in seven days to book their Scottish Cup final place – and guaranteed European group stage place football next season.
Robbie Neilson moved to within 90 minutes of leading the men in maroon to the trophy he won as a player after a 2-1 victory at Hampden.
It continues Hibs’ miserable run of having never beaten their rivals at a neutral venue as Shaun Maloney’s struggling start as Easter Road boss continues.
With Celtic and Rangers contesting the other semi final and occupying the top two spots in the Scottish Premiership it means, even if they lose the final, the Jambos will be in the Europa League play-off round with the losers dropping into the Conference League group .
On-loan Everton man Ellis Simms fired the Jambos into a lead after quarter of an hour with a brilliant goal and that was the first of three goals inside six frantic first half minutes.
Stephen Kingsley added a second with an even better strike from a brilliantly worked set piece.
But Chris Cadden’s rapid response – with Hibs fans leaving – pulled Maloney’s men back into the last four tie.
Hibs were looking good for a leveller but Joe Newell was given his marching orders for a second booking to leave them up against it.
Neilson stuck with the same team who were triumphant when the sides met in the league at Tynecastle seven days earlier.
But opposite number Maloney made five changes as he looked to end a run of five games without a derby win – and the Leith side’s first EVER at a neutral venue.
Ewan Henderson was one of those and the former Celtic man contributed to a bright start from Hibs.
They had an early penalty appeal turned down when Chris Cadden met Henderson’s cross and they claimed the ball hit Stephen Kingsley’s hand as it spun up.
Joe Newell then went into Bobby Madden’s book for chopping down Barrie McKay – the obvious Jambos danger man.
But it was going to take more than that to stop the former Rangers man as he set up the dream opener.
Paul McGinn was caught out with a short free kick, the ball was worked to McKay who threaded a pass through to Simms.
The on-loan Everton man took a touch to set himself up before sending a thunderbolt beyond to helpless Matt Macey.
It was a nightmare start for Hibs, already the underdogs, and it went from bad to worse when they conceded a second.
But it was spectacular from the Jambos as they brilliantly worked a free kick with Kingsley playing it short to Liam Boyce who laid it off for the full back to send a scorching strike into the net.
That left Hibs with a mountain to climb but they immediately started their ascent with a rapid response.
Lewis Stevenson did well down the left and he cut the ball back for Cadden whose initial shot was blocked but he fired past Craig Gordon at the second attempt.
Hearts were forced into a change before the break when last week’s derby hero Andy Halliday limped off with Aaron McEneff given the shout from the bench.
The Jambos should have restored their two-goal cushion on the stroke of half time when Boyce was clean through but he dragged his shot just wide of the post.
Hearts suffered a second injury blow early in the second half as Craig Halkett was stretched off in what looked like a serious injury for the Scotland squad man.
Hibs gained the upper hand in the game and it was only the hand of Craig Gordon that denied them an equaliser.
Henderson swung in a corner – from the same spot his brother Liam set up David Gray’s famous winner in the 2016 final – which Ryan Porteous headed towards goal but Gordon somehow touched it onto the inside of the post and it fell into his arms to safety.
Having done so well to come back from two goals down and looking good for an equaliser, Hibs then shot themselves in the foot.
Newell had already been booked for a challenge on McKay in the first half and his late lung on Peter Haring earned him a second yellow and his marching orders.
Josh Campbell was lucky not to follow him after a two-footed lunge on McKay as Hibs started to lose their shape.
Here’s 5 talking points from Hampden
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Hibs Hampden derby hoodoo continues
The Hibees had never managed a victory over their fierce rivals at a neutral venue in 126 years prior to this meeting.
And it’s a horror run that continues following this defat as the Easter Road men were left licking their wounds in Mount Florida.
The setting was in real contrast to the empty stadium when they met here two years ago but the outcome was the same.
That feeling has been all too familiar for Hibs who have never beaten Hearts at a neutral venue – a run stretching back to 1896 in the final at Logie Green.
Needless from Newell
What was Joe Newell thinking of? Hibs were right in the game in firmly in the hunt for an equaliser.
The Englishman was already on a booking after he was shown an early yellow card so he was walking a tightrope.
And yet he still made a tackle on Peter Haring that he was never going to win and Bobby Madden was left with no choice but to red card him.
His manager and team-mates have every right to be raging with him after dropping them right in it.
Classic from the capital sides
So often Edinburgh Derby clashes are criticized for being drab affairs and that has been justified as many turn into a war of attrition.
But the shackles were off here and the fans – and neutrals – were treated to an engrossing encounter.
That six-minute spell in the first half with three brilliant goals was real entertainment and exactly what you hope for from a game of this magnitude.
Craig Gordon’s age-defying exploits shouldn’t come as a surprise any more, but the veteran keeps producing astonishing moments for club and country.
And the 39-year-old shot-stopper came up with yet another big save at a crucial time in this semi-final.
Hibs started the second half in the ascendency and were pushing for an equalizer which they would have got if it hasn’t been for Gordon.
Ryan Porteous met an Ewan Henderson corner and the defender’s header was net-bound until Gordon somehow managed to touch it onto the post.
shaun of the dread
There was plenty of excitement around Shaun Maloney’s appointment but he has failed to live up to the hype.
A Scottish Cup final place would have given them something to look forward to during their bottom six run-in to the season.
But with just one win in 13 league games since the winter break the statistics don’t look good for the former Celtic star.
His predecessor Jack Ross was in the stand as part of the BBC commentary team and many felt Ron Gordon pulled the trigger too early on him and questions will be asked as to whether they are any better off.