Hibs Under-20s staged a late rally but were unable to prevent a 3-2 defeat away to their Inverness Caledonian Thistle counterparts last night.
Nick Ross and Calum Ferguson gave the hosts a 2-0 lead before Aaron Dunsmore pulled one back with a superb strike. Ferguson restored the two-goal advantage before the break, but, although they dominated the second half, Hibs had only a late strike from Jordan Sinclair to show for their efforts.
Inverness started brightly and deservedly opened the scoring after seven minutes as Ross volleyed home Jamie Wilson’s cross from eight yards out.
Hibs’ Gareth McCaffrey fired over the bar soon after, but the visitors were 2-0 down as Ferguson finished low across Sean Brennan on 16 minutes.
Despite losing Taylor Hendry to a suspected broken thumb, Hibs pulled a goal back as Dunsmore fired a spectacular shot into the top corner from 30 yards in the 27th minute.
Ferguson restored the two-goal cushion three minutes before the break from close range as Duncan Shearer’s young team commanded the first 45 minutes.
The second half saw Hibs, who finished third in the table last season, turn on the style. Lewis Allan, McCaffrey and Sinclair all went close as they piled heavy pressure on the Inverness goal.
With 89 minutes on the clock Sinclair’s effort from inside the box found the back of the net despite goalkeeper Daniel Hoban getting a hand on the ball. Hoban saved at his near post from Jack Breen as Inverness survived the late siege and held on to deny the Hibs youngsters a point.
Hibs Under-20s: Brennan, Dunsmore, Martyniuk, McGregor, Gardiner (Stirling, 45), Crane, Duthie, Martin, L Allan, Hendry (Jordan Sinclair 23), McCaffrey (Breen 81). Unused subs: Combe, Waugh.