Hibernian travelled to Glasgow looking to end a 110-year drought in the competition but ended with 10 men, their manager Pat Fenlon in the stand, and their dignity in shreds as Hearts romped to their first final win in six years.
Darren Barr’s first goal for Hearts and a strike from Rudi Skacel put Paulo Sergio’s side into a comfortable lead against a ragged-looking Hibernian.
Hibernian skipper James McPake struck just before the interval to give his side a lifeline which, to say the least, they failed to grab.
Left-back Danny Grainger scored his first Hearts goal from the spot a minute into the second half after Hibs defender Pa Kujabi was sent off by referee Craig Thomson for a foul on Suso Santana inside the box, his second bookable offence.
Hearts right-back Ryan McGowan headed in goal number four just three minutes later to make the rest of the second half a formality, with Skacel grabbing his second from the edge of the box to complete a miserable day for the Leithers, who had boss Fenlon sent off seconds from the end after the Irishman reacted to taunting from the Hearts fans.
It certainly was a remarkable afternoon.
The Jambos had not lost to Hibs in three years and one theory was that an early goal would see them continue that run.
It was a notion that was to be put to the test – and ultimately proved correct – when the Tynecastle side took the lead, although the goal came from an unlikely source.
The Hibernian defence failed to clear Grainger’s corner from the left, and as the ball bobbed around the box, McGowan’s blocked drive fell kindly to former Falkirk player Barr who stabbed it past goalkeeper Mark Brown from close range.
Barr ran away in celebration, his face revealing as much disbelief as joy and, even at that point, it looked a long way back for Hibernian.
In the 27th minute, after McPake had headed a Leigh Griffiths free-kick wide of the far post, the length of that journey increased when Skacel doubled Hearts’ lead, with the Hibernian defence again culpable.
When midfielder Ian Black passed to the Czech midfielder at the edge of the Hibs box, he was given too much time and space to turn and send his shot, helped by a deflection, past the flailing Brown.
Hearts were in almost total control while Hibernian’s ineptness was summed up in the 31st minute when Kujabi’s cross from the left found the unmarked Garry O’Connor, who flashed his shot from 16 yards high over the bar.
It was McPake who dragged the Easter Road side back into the game, albeit fleetingly, not long after he had cleared a goal-bound shot from Hearts wide-man Suso Santana off the line.
A third goal for the Gorgie men would have surely ended the game before the interval but, four minutes from the break, on-loan Coventry stopper McPake was on the end of an Isaiah Osbourne cross to slide the ball past Jamie MacDonald from a couple of yards out.
With the green and white hordes still celebrating, Ivan Sproule replaced Jorge Claros, but two goals in four minutes after the break had the maroon and white ribbons on the cup.
Barely a minute had gone when referee Thomson pointed to the spot after Kujabi had grabbed Santana at the edge of the box, before sending off the Hibs defender having booked him in the first half for a foul on the same player.
Grainger slammed in the spot-kick and three minutes later McGowan made it 4-1.
Grainger’s corner from the left found Skacel whose mis-hit shot was helped on by Elliott and parried up in the air by Brown, giving McGowan an unmissable chance almost on the line.
For Hibs, that was their cup dream over for another year.
Those fans who remained had to endure watching Skacel fire in his second from the edge of the box with 15 minutes remaining, after taking a pass from Santana.
The Hearts supporters chanted “We want six”, but their heroes had done more than enough to ensure a night of celebration in Gorgie and a wake in Leith.
In the final minute referee Thomson sent Fenlon to the stand, for a gesture to the jubilant Hearts fans, to put the lid on a miserable day for Hibs.