Friday 6 January 2017, 19.45, Easter Road
Top of the table clash in the Scottish Championship as Hibs take on Dundee United.
It was first against second and a quick re-viewing of both, with us having been at Tannadice on Christmas Eve when United played St Mirren and The Falkirk Stadium for Falkirk v Hibs on Hogmanay. United lost at Dumbarton on the same day, so Hibs led their rivals by one point.
Marvin Bartley was recalled into the Hibs midfield in place of Scott Martin while Martin Boyle replaced Grant Holt. Former Motherwell winger Chris Humphrey joined Hibs, initially until the end of the season, from Preston North End in the lead up to the game. And he comes in for Andrew Shinnie. John McGinn was on the bench, after being out since November.
United had Tony Andreu back in the team after he missed the game at Dumbarton. Sean Dillon, Blair Spittal and Simon Murray drop out of the team with Andreu, Lewis Toshney and Nick van der Velden coming in. Thomas Mikkelson, just signed on loan from Odense Boldklub until the end of the season, starts on the bench.
There were 18,786 in attendance.
In the second minute, Bartley played the ball to Humphrey on the right for Hibs. Still in his own half, he sprinted past Dixon and got to level with the penalty spot on the wing. His cross to the back post was flicked away by Toshney with Boyle waiting to pounce.
Boyle picked up the ball in four minutes in a similar position to that of Humphrey, but on the other side. He went past the challenge of Toshney and cut inside Flood before feeding Commons on the right hand side of the box. He chipped to the back post but Cummings was forced wide and could only play the ball off Durnan for a corner.
The corner was scrambled behind for another corner. Commons corner was headed away to the edge of the box where Humphrey shot for goal. He miskicked it, but it landed right at the feet of Cummings who had time to turn and slot under Bell to put Hibs in front.
United were looking very shaky and in 9 minutes, McGeouch chipped the ball forward from deep in his own half to Humphrey who took the ball down the right. Murdoch came across and got in front of him to send the ball back to the keeper. He only managed to put it in the direction of Cummings and only a last ditch tackle by Edjengule prevented another great chance.
Bartley’s chip into the United box in 12 minutes found Cummings free again, but he got his volley all wrong and put it well wide. He was glad to see the flag had gone up.
A mistake by Durnan in 14 minutes nearly let Cummings in again, McGeouch won the ball for Hibs in his own half in 16 minutes and Commons sent a long ball forward for Cummings to chase. He played the ball back for Commons on the edge of the box, but his well struck shot was blocked by Durnan.
Andreu had United’s first shot at goal in 16 minutes after a one-two with Van der Velden, but his strike from 20 yards was well off target.
With 21 minutes gone, Flood was the latest United player to lose the ball in his own half and Commons struck for goal from the corner of the box, but was well off target.
Telfer got behind the Hibs defence in 24 minutes and he crossed from the by-line, but Gray headed behind in front of Van der Velden for a corner which was overhit by Telfer.
In 26 minutes, Stevenson won a tackle in his own half which sent the ball toward Humphrey on the right. He knocked the ball forward first time past Dixon and his cut back from the by-line found Cummings at the front post who turned the ball into the net for his and Hibs second.
United’s defending was woeful and Flood played the ball across his own goal in 29 minutes straight to the feet of Commons, but the defence somehow managed to clear.
Telfer picked up the game’s first booking in 29 minutes after another wayward United pass had given the ball to Boyle and Telfer’s frustrations got the better of him as he made a rash challenge on the Hibs winger.
After Flood had initially shown good awareness in 39 minutes to go across to help Dixon after Humphrey had burst past him, another slack pass gave Hibs a corner which went right across the face of goal, but they survived.
Murdoch went in very hard and late on Bartley in 44 minutes to pick up another yellow card for United.
The men from Dundee would have been relieved to get to half time without any further damage, but probably weren’t looking forward to facing their manager.
Bartley picked up a yellow card in 48 minutes. The Hibs man pulled back Flood as he came forward.
Van der Velden was next to pick up a booking in 52 minutes for a late tackle on Boyle after catching the Hibs winger late.
In 65 minutes, Bartley robbed Andreu in his own half and burst past Flood as Hibs broke forward. He played the ball inside to Cummings and he tried to pass it to Commons who would have been clean through, but Durnan managed to get something on the ball and it went through to Bell.
United finally got an effort on target in 76 minutes when Toshney’s cross from the right was met powerfully by the head of Obadeyi, but Laidlaw was alert to push the ball away.
Durnan was the next United player booked in 79 minutes for pulling back Bartley.
Hibs won a corner in 81 minutes and Boyle played it short to McGinn on the corner of the box. The returning midfielder, who came on 3 minutes earlier, took the ball past Fraser and ran towards goal along the byline before putting the ball through the legs of Bell for Hibs third to the delight of the home support.
Boyle burst down the left for Hibs in 83 minutes and charged into the box and looked like he was going to grab another goal, but he hit the ball a bit too far in front himself which gave Edjengule the chance to tackle.
Dixon was brought down by Gray in 85 minutes which resulted in the Hibs captain joining the ever increasing players booked. Andreu became the next United player booked in 88 minutes.
In injury time, McGinn fed Keatings down the right but his cross was just too far in front of Graham as the three Hibs subs combined.
A convincing win for Hibs who were aided and abetted by an awful United performance.
Humphrey did well on his debut and Boyle on the opposite flank caused United problems all night. They were well supported by the tireless Bartley in midfield. Hard to give credit to many in tangerine, but Edjengule did his best to hold the defence together.
Full Time: Hibs 3 Dundee United 0
Hibs: 31 Ross Laidlaw, 2 David Gray, 4 Paul Hanlon, 24 Darren McGregor, 3 Lewis Stevenson, 6 Marvin Bartley, 10 Dylan McGeouch, 15 Kris Commons (McGinn 78), 27 Chris Humphrey (Keatings 84), 17 Martin Boyle, 35 Jason Cummings (Graham 88). Subs: 32 Otso Virtanen, 5 Liam Fontaine, 7 John McGinn, 9 Grant Holt, 19 James Keatings, 22 Andrew Shinnie, 29 Brian Graham.
Dundee United: 1 Cammy Bell, 6 Lewis Toshney, 14 William Edjengule, 4 Mark Durnan, 3 Paul Dixon, 16 Willo Flood, 8 Stewart Murdoch (Mikkelsen 75), 10 Scott Fraser, 12 Paul Telfer (Smith 67), 19 Tony Andreu, 23 Nick Van der Velden (Obadeyi 57). Subs: 21 Luis Zwick, 2 Sean Dillon, 11 Tope Obadeyi, 15 Cammy Smith, Thomas Mikkelson, 24 Jamie Robson, 7 Blair Spittal.
Referee: Willie Collum