Roberts miss spells heartbreak for Inverness
Ten-man Hearts came from behind to progress to the Scottish League Cup final 5-4 on penalties as they made Inverness pay for a host of missed chances.
Philip Roberts blasted the decisive penalty over the bar after the game had finished 1-1 after extra time as Inverness were cruelly denied a historic first appearance in a major cup final.
Andrew Shinnie had given Inverness a 49th minute lead before debutant Michael Ngoo, who had earlier hit the post, hauled Hearts level in the 66th minute.
Scott Robinson was sent off in the 76th minute for a reckless challenge on Owain Tudur-Jones.
Inverness had two golden opportunities to win the tie in extra time but Roberts' miss sent Hearts through to the final where they will meet the winners of tomorrow's semi-final between St Mirren and Celtic.
Hearts manager John McGlynn was delighted with the victory.
"I thought the team played very well and we played some really good football in the first half," McGlynn said.
"It was a bit of a blow to go behind so early but I thought we regained control of the game and I was delighted for Michael to get the goal. After going down to ten men we stuck to our task and defended very well and showed great spirit."
His Inverness counterpart Terry Butcher was left to rue his side's missed chances.
"We've had some great chances in the game, probably enough chances to win two or three games, but we just didn't take them which isn't like us," the former England international said.
"It's very hard to explain but we're not in the cup final and I think we deserved to have won the game but having said that it's goal that win games and when it comes to a penalty shoot-out it's a lottery."
Hearts, who had made six changes to the side that lost to Celtic last week, started with a side with seven players 21 or under as on-loan Liverpool striker Ngoo made his debut.
Inverness should have taken the lead in the 15th minute when Billy McKay beat the offside trap to latch on to a long ball out of defence and go one-on-one with Jamie MacDonald but the keeper dived low to his left to stop the striker's weak effort.
Inverness drew first blood in the 49th minute when Andrew Shinnie fired them in front. Doran's ball across the box broke to the striker just inside the box and he drilled a low angled shot into the bottom right-hand corner of the net that gave MacDonald no chance.
The Jambos were appealing for a penalty a couple of minutes later when Ngoo's driven cross struck the arm of Ross Draper but referee Euan Norris ignored their pleas.
However, Hearts were soon level when Ngoo scored in the 66th minute. The striker spun to blast a left-foot volley beyond Reguero from eight yards as he connected with Wilson's header across goal.
Ten minutes later the Jambos were reduced to ten men as Robinson was shown a straight red card for a dangerous challenge on Owain Tudur-Jones.
McKay missed a golden chance to win the game for Inverness in extra time. Shane Sutherland beat the offside trap and squared for McKay but, with the goal gaping, he took a touch, allowing the Hearts defence to recover and keeper MacDonald made a fine block to deny his strike.
Marius Zaliukas had a header cleared off the line before Andrew Shinnie should have fired Inverness into the final when the ball fell to him six yards out but he blasted it over the bar.