IT would come as little surprise if Jack Ross was just as confident guiding the team bus to Hampden as he was of plotting a route to the semi-finals.

The Hibees gaffer continued his record of reaching every possible domestic semi-final since taking over in the capital in November 2019.

And Ross’s men will once more make the familiar trip along the M8 to the national stadium in November after a ruthless opening 45 minutes guaranteed their progress in the Premier Sports Cup.

Goals from Joe Newell, Scott Allan and Martin Boyle were enough to see off a United side who looked to suffer a first-half hangover after their derby

success at the weekend.

Tam Courts rotated his side with Trevor Carson, Kieran Freeman, Dylan Levitt and Nicky Clark all brought into the starting team. But it was opposition boss Ross’s line-up tinkering which paid off as

Allan made a goalscoring

return to the XI with Lewis Stevenson also included.

It was only a matter of minutes before the Edinburgh side surged ahead with Allan setting up the opener with a trademark reverse through ball.

The midfielder cut inside of young full-back Freeman to slide the disguised pass to Newell who slammed home at the near post after just two-and-a-half minutes.

The scoreline was almost doubled just six minutes later as Boyle drilled a pass into Magennis on the edge of the box, but his curling effort was pushed over the bar by Carson.

From that point it looked as though the hosts may have been jolted into life as they appeared to be closing in on an equaliser.

First, Freeman charged into the box after pinching the ball from Paul Hanlon, he then tried to shoot but ended up clattering into Hibs defender Stevenson. Referee Willie Collum played on allowing Pawlett to take a touch before blazing over the bar just before the half-hour.

United would then be punished for their inability to find the net. Kevin Nisbet’s driving run was stopped by a Jeando Fuchs tackle but only fed the ball to Allan. His shot was blocked heroically by Freeman before Edwards threw his body in the way of a Nisbet shot. But the ball eventually dropped to Allan to send into the bottom corner after 37 minutes.

And on the stroke of half-time things got even worse for United. Sub Mark Reynolds was ruled to have fouled McGinn as he closed in on goal with Collum pointing to the spot. Up stepped Boyle to fire home his 10th goal of the season for club and country as he rifled past Carson in the United goal.

The Tangerines re-emerged after half-time appearing to have been rejuvenated. Pawlett pulled one back after 58 minutes when he powered home from close range after Freeman’s pinpoint low cross.

They threatened to put real pressure on Hibs just five minutes later, a Levitt through ball just escaping Clark who couldn’t connect.

Pawlett thought he had found a second with 20 minutes left as he flicked over Macey, but he was ruled offside, despite appearing to have been played on by Stevenson.