Hibs tasted league success on the road for the first time in nine months with a dominant second-half performance against Dundee United.
The home side were without suspended winger Barry Robson whose place was taken by Noel Hunt, while Tony Mowbray’s Hibs were boosted by the return of striker Chris Killen from injury while David Murphy replaced Jay Shields.
The visitors were nearly caught out in the second minute when Hunt shot just wide of Zbignew Malkowski’s left-hand post. Hibs defender Rob Jones was then fortunate not to concede a penalty kick when he lunged at Hunt but no award was given.
Mowbray’s team were not at their best but Hibs had the best chances of the first period.
Abdessalam Benjelloun had a shot deflected over the crossbar and then scuffed an effort wide when he should have done better.
From close-range, Jones hooked over when he might have hit the target, and at the other end Collin Samuel tested Malkowski with a low drive.
Hibs appeared to be more hungry after half-time and went ahead shortly after the break when Killen raced on to a long ball, beating defender Alan Archibald for pace, and lashing a superb finish past Derek Stillie from 18 yards out.
The Kiwi could have doubled his tally when the skilful Merouane Zemmama threaded the ball into the striker’s path but his acute-angled attempt was halted by the feet of Stillie.
When United player-manager Craig Brewster entered the fray he almost put United level instantly, his initial shot well saved by Malkowski, but he put his header sailing over from the rebound.
United lived to regret that as Hibs substitute Dean Shiels lobbed a perfect finish over Stillie after the home keeper had saved Benjelloun’s long-range smash, but failed to hold onto the effort.
Substitute Ivan Sproule rounded off a fine afternoon for Hibs by slotting calmly past the United keeper in the closing moments after Shiels had teed him up.
Ultimately a season that proved fruitful as the Hibees tasted success at Hampden in the League Cup final win over Kilmarnock after boss Mowbray departed for West Bromich Albion, the Easter Road side should have finished higher than their final placing of sxith, with just one win in their final ten league games ensuring they were well of the Euro places.
Hibs: Malkowski, Whittaker, Murphy, Martis, Jones, Thomson, Stewart, Zemmama, Brown, Benjelloun, Killen.