Hibs started their competitive season today against Montrose with a four goal win over the part timers. Two goals in each half were more than enough to take Hibs to the top of the section table after one round of matches and they will go up the road to Dingwall for a much sterner test on Friday night, having given a few youngsters the opportunity to have a run out this afternoon.
Playing with 3 at the back, Porteous got his first competitive outing alongside McGregor and Fonts, with the usual pairing of Gray and Lewis at wing back. Dylan, SJM and Boyle played across the middle with Fraser Murray sitting just in behind his namesake Simon. There was no place in the squad for the returning Whittaker or walkabout Ambrose. Danny Swanson was missing through suspension.
Hibs started brightly with both Murrays, McGeouch and Stevenson impressing. Gary Murray’s laddie was a real handful for Montrose and his former team mate, Sean Dillon, was charged with trying to keep the eager forward quiet. Dillon, it has to be said, for my money was the fittest and best of the Montrose players – his recent full time football looking obvious compared to the wide range of all-inclusive holiday beer bellies on show in away strips reminiscent of yon Hearts strip in season 1985-86. You know, the grey and white one? The one they included in the book The Wrong Colour of Strips? Aye, that one…and it was to prove as lucky for the opposition as that 86 vintage one did for the Gunts.
The official attendance was just over 5000 and I have to say that from our seats in the West we couldnt fathom why it was so high. Perhaps there were more in the West than elsewhere and that accounts for this perception. The East was very sparsely populated. The FF not any better. There were around 200 away supporters who had made the long trip down the road. Maybe all those West Stand prawn sandwiches were also the reason for the 200 gulls that descended from nowhere around half time and then didn’t beggar off again…
Back to the first half and Dylan was pulling the strings in the middle of the park, showing real 360 vision and movement. He is a joy to watch in full flow and both he and Fraser Murray were looking to play in the ginger version at every opportunity. Lewis was getting down the left flank regularly and delivered a couple of tasty crosses from the goal line that were troublesome for the visiting defence. It was one of these crosses that was met by the head of yon Simon version of the Murray clan and converted for the opening goal after 12 minutes. And it wasn’t too long before his younger clansman Fraser added to the tally when he fired a great low shot beyond the keeper and his Alice Band after 22 minutes had passed. The build up play between him and Simon was a joy to watch. And that was the theme for today for the red haired son of Gary. His link up play was very good, his goal return good and his overall play good. It may only have been Montrose but it matters not one jot. He is getting more assured with every passing game in a green and white jersey and that can only be a good thing for us all.
Squirrel, who was less effective today than last week, had nearly scored a cracking goal himself earlier in proceedings but his effort came back off the post just moments before Hibs opened the scoring. Super was more Standard John McGinn today but he was hit several times in the opening period of the game with some meaty challenges going in from some of these players who certainly didn’t need an all day breakfast.
Shot after shot came, chance after chance. The keeper made a decent stop from Simon with his feet before a Sir DG header went over the bar. Another effort from Dylan went wide.
At half time Hibs were rightly applauded off and those of us who had toddled along to ER for the game were very much glad we had done so. It was an enjoyable 45 minutes. Murray (S) made it 3-0 soon into the second half when he timed his run and got the better of his former team mate Dillon, to header home part two of his brace. Hibs had not started the half well, with some sloppy passing, some wandering by Darren putting the back three at risk and passes going astray. They were soon “telt” by the manager to get their act together. Hibs hooked Dylan after less than an hour – why risk anything with a player so precious but so, well, precious? Also leaving proceedings midway through the half were Fonts and then finally Murray. Martin, Shaw and Graham replacing them accordingly.
Graham, who missed the most horrendous penalty during the week, was given a chance to make amends late in the second half after a spot kick was awarded by Son of Dallas. There was a ripple of consternation around the stadium before a round of applause replaced it on his run up. I thought I heard a couple of boos but couldn’t be sure. There were certainly smert ersed shouts to the effect he should remember the Lions tour was finished. He’s not the answer, I’m struggling to remember what they thought the question was in the first place, but he is our player taking a penalty in a competitive match. We need to kinda remember that if he stays. That said, he is at the front of the queue for the boo boys this season.
Hibs ran out worthy winners. The second half not so entertaining or fluent as the first but tonight we sit atop of the league in our section. Next up is a trip to Dingwall on Friday night and hopefully as many fans that can make it will do so. £12 for adults on the gate and there are supporters buses running.
Marciano – square root of hee haw to do. Clean sheet, clean shorts.
Gray – solid outing and could have scored a header in the second half courtesy of another cross from Lewis
Fonts – good hour’s outing before being replaced
McGregor – in charge and the back and untroubled
Lewis – several good crosses in today, the best at the back for me…just ahead of…
Porteous – who looks years ahead of his age and stage. He is going to be needed I suspect when Gray and McGregor are suspended
Boyle – okay but nowhere near the level of impact as last weekend
SJM – not Super, mair Standard John today. By Sauzee he has beefed up over the holiday though.
McGeouch – a Dylan masterclass. 360 play. He’s a star when fit and in form.
F Murray – good first half, some lovely link play and a good goal.
S Murray – he gets better and better. Now we just need to sign a foil for him.
Graham – scored his pen under a lot of pressure.
Martin – neat and tidy play as ever
Shaw – should have scored, missing an open goal late on.
Man of the Match – between Dylan, Wee Murray, Lewis and Big Murray. Wee Murray got it at the game, I’m going with Big Murray. He ran all day, caused real consternation, scored two very good goals and looks like he is absolutely having a ball.
See you all on BT Sport or at Dingwall on Friday