LAZY? Well, it is doubtful that any of the Hibernian players were castigating Kevin Nisbet for not working hard enough off the ball for them after his match-winning contribution sent the Easter Road side into the Scottish Cup final.

Nisbet, who had been criticised by former Hibee John Collins for his work-rate (or lack of it) in the build-up to the semi-final, scored the opener here with a fine finish and played an integral part in the second goal that killed the tie with clever hold-up play.

That was tucked away smartly too by strike partner Christian Doidge, albeit from a suspiciously offside-looking position. But more of that later.

It wasn’t exactly the sort of atmosphere you would associate with a Scottish Cup semi-final, or indeed a World Snooker Championship final for that matter, as Hibs manager Jack Ross had pointedly lamented when discussing the ongoing supporter shut-out during the week. Although the incessant squawking of a family of nesting birds in the roof of the South Stand gave a fair impression of the noise that comes from the well-oiled few who normally occupy the hospitality seats below.

There was a lot of talk in the build up to the game about the havoc that the Hibs front three may pose, and so it proved. But while Jack Ross included goalscorers Nisbet, Doidge and Martin Boyle in his line-up, he sent them out in a conventional 4-4-2, with Boyle playing as an orthodox winger and Jackson Irvine playing off the left.

Dundee United boss Micky Mellon was more concerned with the threat his own side could pose, and he sent out his own trio of attacking Terrors in the shape of Lawrence Shankland, Nicky Clark and Marc McNulty, who were so impressive in their 3-0 win over Aberdeen in the previous round at Pittodrie.

And indeed, it was United who threatened first. Josh Doig has been hugely impressive this season, but the youngster gave the ball away with an uncharacteristically sloppy pass, allowing Shankland to break towards the Hibs area. His pass to play Ian Harkes through on goal just had a little bit too much fizz on it on the slick surface, and the chance slipped away as the midfielder failed to take the pace off the ball.

They had another decent opening soon after as Harkes swung a ball in from the left for McNulty to head over, before Irvine spurned an opportunity at the other end as Hibs eventually started to show a bit of menace.

They went closer as their attacking players started to show their teeth, Boyle’s cross being taken in by Nisbet on the turn before the striker shot across and inches wide. He wasn’t to be denied for long though.

Irvine took a long high ball out of the sky on his chest before cushioning the ball into Nisbet’s path on the edge of the area. He showed a cool head and produced a measured side-foot finish into Deniz Mehmet’s bottom right-hand corner.

United reeled from the goal and rather lost their way, allowing Hibs to grasp the initiative right up until the interval without creating much by the way of clear-cut opportunities.

United needed a response, and a direct run from McNulty after the restart gave them an opportunity on the edge of the box as Ryan Porteous halted his progress in unceremonious fashion, but Clark’s free-kick was high and wide.

He was hauled off soon after as Mellon looked to Adrian Sporle to provide the spark from the bench, but it was the three musketeers of Hibs who cut through the heart of the United defence with rapier speed to wrap up the tie.

A wonderful combination saw Nisbet turn the ball round the corner for Boyle to stride onto, who quickly fed it forward into Doidge’s feet. The striker looked to be in an offside position to everyone but the standside assistant, but Doidge did his part by burying the ball into the bottom corner, and the flag never came.

If United could have channelled the energy of manager Mellon’s remonstrations they may well have found their way back into the game, and they did in fact focus their frustrations constructively, as a McNulty cross allowed Shankland to bring the first meaningful save from Matt Macey, before Jamie Robson met a cross from fellow full-back Liam Smith to volley just wide.

At the other end, Nisbet almost got his second as Ryan Edwards dumped Boyle on his backside inches outside the area, but his fizzing free-kick was palmed away by Mehmet.

A crunching tackle from Nisbet on United sub Peter Pawlett in the midfield may have made Collins spit out his tea, but it also ended the forward’s evening as he came out of the tangle second best. He had already ensured though that Hibs would win their first semi-final at the sixth attempt since lifting this trophy back in 2016.

Hibs will hope it is nothing too serious, and that he will be fine to take his place in the line-up when they return to Hampden for the final in a fortnight. In the meantime, he has earned the right to put up his feet.