Martin Boyle made the most of a rare start to claim two goals and guide Hibs to a comprehensive win over Alloa Athletic.
Boyle struck after just four minutes, Dan Carmichael added a second with his first Hibs goal five minutes from half-time and Boyle wrapped it up with Hibs’ third 13 minutes from time to keep the pressure on leaders Rangers, who maintained their eight-point advantage with a 1-0 win at Queen of the South.
A much-changed Hibs side took only four minutes to take the lead against the Championship’s basement side, Liam Henderson spotting Boyle’s run in behind the Wasps defence, the wing-back lofting the ball over goalkeeper Scott Gallacher and then tapping it into the empty net.
Although goalkeeper Mark Oxley had to look sharp to beat away a Connor McManus free-kick, it was the Edinburgh side which continued to hold the upper hand, their superiority made to count when James Keatings supplied a delightful ball for Carmichael to side-foot home his first Hibs goal.
However, Alloa did have their moments, Steven Hetherington failing to make the most of Ryan Finnie’s inviting cross and Michael Duffy lofting a ball over the head of Hibs goalkeeper Oxley but also over the bar.
But Hibs remained very much in command, pinning Alloa back for long spells of the second half without being able to engineer a clear-cut opening.
Oxley did well to push away a Mitch Megginson shot which bounced awkwardly in front of him before Boyle claimed his second of the game, turning the ball home from close range after Chris Dagnall’s shot was deflected into his path.
Hibs: Oxley, Gunnarsson, Hanlon, Fontaine; Boyle, McGeouch (McGinn 67), Bartley (Thomson 77), Henderson, Carmichael, Dagnall (McGregor 80), Keatings. Substitutes not used: Virtanen, Gray, Stokes, Cummings.
Alloa Athletic: Gallacher, Finnie (Ferns 86), Hill, Marr (McAusland 46), Hamilton, Duffy, O’Brien, McManus, Hetherington, Megginson, Layne (Caddis 51). Substitutes not used: D Crawford, Reintam, Holmes, R Crawford.
Referee: Nick Walsh