But throughout an already successful season Hearts have developed a winning habit.
So, even when players had to go off injured or momentum shifted away from them, they had the nous and the personnel to see it over the line.
In the key moments on Saturday the extra quality shone through.
The goals were clinical, the finishing assured, as Hearts opened up a two-goal lead and while Liam Boyce had the opportunity to totally kill things off just before the interval and should have done better, having missed that one, it was up to the men at the other end to play their part.
And, despite a couple of enforced defensive reshuffles in front of him, Captain Craig Gordon pulled off another of his spectacular saves to prevent Hibs leveling the score, getting down to his right to push Ryan Porteous’ superb header onto the upright.
“It was a big moment in the game and the season to keep them out at that particular point because they were on top,” acknowledged the Scotland goalkeeper. “To keep our lead intact was hugely important because they still had 11 men at the time [Joe Newell was sent off 10 minutes later].
‘It would have been difficult for us to get the momentum back in the game if it had been 2-2.
“I got a little bit of luck when it came back off the post and I managed to dive on the second ball. But I hopefully deserved that bit of luck.”
Hearts were already ahead by then, having opened the scoring in the 16th minute.
When a delightful Barrie McKay pass unlocked the Leith defence. Ellis Simms made the most of it and felt a scorching strike past Matt Macey. They added a second five minutes later when a training ground set piece gave Stephen Kingsley the opportunity to demonstrate his prowess from him.
Although Hibs responded almost immediately through Chris Cadden, they were unable to overhaul a team that spent last season in the Championship but have wrapped up a third in the Premiership this term.
“The second half seemed to go on for hours,” Gordon admitted. “It’s fair to say we ground it out with a few injuries and changes in personnel. All credit to the lads who came in, it showed the team spirit that we’ve got. Everyone stepped up and put in a performance.”
Andy Halliday was an early casualty and Kingsley was forced off in the final minutes but both should recover in time for the May 21 final. The club are waiting on results of a scan to find out if Craig Halkett, who left the pitch on a stretcher and the ground in a protective boot, has a chance.
“It didn’t look good at the time,” said Gordon. “It was not a great tackle.
“But we knew coming into this game that we were going to need our bench and players to step up and today it was the defensive players who came on and did everything necessary to get us through. They’ve not played much football but when needed they’ve stood up to be counted.”
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