HIBS continued their promising start to the new season with new signing Didier Agathe again claiming the plaudits with two goals, his third and fourth of the season.
Agathe followed on from his double against Dundee’s neighbours Dundee United to help inflict a demoralising defeat which raised questions about the brave new dawn which had been predicted for the new look continental Dundee side.
Hibs ended the afternoon top of the SPL, thrashing a team that had arrived at Easter Road as top club.
Alex McLeish’s men were indisputably the better team and, as much for keeping their heads when their opponents lost theirs, Hibs looked a far more balanced outfit.
It was supremely careless for Dundee to end the contest two men short, Fabian Caballero red-carded for biffing Mathias Jack full in the face with a clenched fist in the 45th minute, while Patrizio Billio made it in to the dressing-room only a couple of minutes before his disconsolate team-mates after picking up a second booking for a needless foul on Stuart Lovell with the contest a lost cause. It was from that moment that
Hibs were the more controlled – in every possible way – but it was the off-the-cuff artistry of Dundee that first took the breath away of those watching, with Caballero breaking the deadlock in the seventh minute with a blur of a drive from just inside the box that was of the rapturous variety. But Agathe was not to be outdone and in the 15th minute the Frenchman took on the appearance of a battering ram with a jet engine to plough half the length of the field before applying a delicate finish. In the 40th minute he benefited from a beauty of a diagonal pass from Russell Latapy, making amends for an unconvincing penalty attempt that was blocked by Rab Douglas nine minutes earlier. Agathe was the beneficiary of the Trinidadian’s artistry, adding some of his own to bring Latapy’s pass under control and nonchalantly flicking the ball out of reach of the Dundee keeper.
The second period began with Hibs content to retain possession and stretch Ivan Bonetti’s men. It wasn’t until the 82nd minute that they stretched them to breaking point, John O’Neil whipping in a cross that Dirk Lehmann sent spinning high from his head beyond the beaten-all-ends-up Douglas.
The German substitute doubled his tally within a minute when he was left with a simple tap-in after a passing move involving Agathe and Ulrik Laursen. That Dundee had given up the ghost was demonstrated five minutes from time when Lovell added a fifth for the Easter Road men by simply waltzing through a non-existent defence. Billio’s subsequent red card was merely a footnote.
McLeish, having persuaded Franck Sauzee to stay on for another season to bring his unmatched experience to the sweeper’s role, and converted Mathias Jack from a central defender into a powerful midfield presence to take the weight from the endlessly creative Latapy, Hibs already looked more formidable than last season.
Hibs revealed their new signing, French striker David Zitelli paraded in front of the home crowd before kick off as they added depth to their striking options. But based on this showing, it looked like he would have to wait to make his impact in an already goal-rich side.