The Hibs supporters were in full voice as they acclaimed their manager when departing Dens Park following their team’s first victory at the ground for four years.
The home side were tactically out-thought by HIbs manager Tony Mowbray, skilfully out-manoeuvred by his players and, most troublingly for Dee manager Jim Duffy, diligently out-worked.
David Murphy returned to the Hibs line-up after a spell sidelined by a broken hand, replacing Gary Caldwell after his dismissal the previous week. The former Middlesbrough apprentice conjured some sorcery to trick Dundee’s rearguard in the 18th minute to set up the opening goal. His peachy cross-field pass was improbably accurate, as was Guillaume Beuzelin’s header from 15 yards which entirely flummoxed goakeeper Derek Soutar and delivered a second goal of this campaign for the delighted Frenchman.
Far from sparking the hosts into life, their back four continued to cower unduly before Hibs’ energetic approach, even as play opened ever further up. Their cause was hardly helped when Brent Sancho, freshly returned from international duty, was prematurely withdrawn. And only a seemingly spurious flag prevented greater calamity when Sam Morrow tapped in a shot from Alen Orman which Soutar had failed to hold, only for the offside decision to negate his instinctive reaction.
Finally, Duffy’s side began to offer hope of a meaningful contest, even if their aspirations were largely being carried alone by Fabian Caballero and Steve Lovell. But it took a speculative drive from the Argentine to truly command goalkeeper Simon Brown’s attention as it dribbled just wide of his left-hand post.
Morrow and Orman escaped the shackles as Hibs again advanced speedily, the pair trading passes as they carved Dundee apart. Derek Riordan bolted forth in support and gratefully accepted the ball conveyed to his feet, steadying himself before slotting past Soutar.
Duffy ignored the boos from his own support and resisted the temptation to further tinker at half-time. His faith was rewarded when the guests were, for the first time, subjected to consistent pressure as Dundee strove to find a path back into the match.
Hibs looked unruffled but in the 62nd minute, they momentarily let down their defensive guard and were duly punished. It was Lovell who took advantage, scampering away on the right. The unprotected Brown stood up, intimidating as best he could but the sharp forward craftily slotted between the keeper’s legs and not even a desperate lunge from Craig Rocastle could halt the ball’s progress across the line.
Lovell’s goal offered hope to Dundee and Duffy’s arms, previously folded in indignation, at once became a beacon of
Caballero’s subsequent miscue on the fringes of the area was as good as The Dee could give. He was soon withdrawn, along with Jonay Hernandez, in favour of John Sutton and Andrew Reilly but the newcomers had barely drawn breath before Hibs grabbed a decisive third. Again it was Murphy who provided the cross, Orman adding the finish as he nodded home.
And it brought a fourth strike. Riordan fed substitute Dean Shiels who turned on the penalty spot and duly left Soutar – and Duffy – bewildered all over again.