Hibs Under-20s defeated their Partick Thistle counterparts 2-0 last night to move back to the top of the league after being knocked off their perch by Celtic for 24 hours.
In a match played at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium after Livingston’s Almondvale pitch was waterlogged, Euan Smith opened the scoring before Jason Cummings doubled the lead just after the break.
The win took Hibs two points clear of Celtic, who beat Rangers on Monday night and, crucially, still have two games in hand over James McDonaugh’s kids.
Hibs named a fairly strong side with Owain Tudur Jones, continuing his comeback from a hamstring injury, Abdellah Zoubir, Alex Harris, Daniel Boateng and Cummings among those boasting first-team appearances.
The experience in the Hibs side showed early on as they gained the upper hand. Cummings went close with a shot that was tipped onto the post by Scott Basalaj before the Thistle goalkeeper was called into action again to deal with a 25-yard Harris drive.
Basalaj was beaten for the first time in 27 minutes when an impressive passing sequence ended with Smith converting a first-time effort from inside the box after being teed up by Harris. Three minutes after the break, Hibs doubled their lead. Goalkeeper Paul Grant kicked the ball downfield, and it bounced between the opposing central defenders, allowing Cummings to race in on goal and slot beneath Basalaj.
McDonaugh’s high-flying youngsters took their foot off the gas, but still continued to dictate the game, and Cummings saw a strike deflected into Basalaj’s arms.
The forward then had a header saved from a Jamie Beaton cross. Two late chances for Partick fell to Declan McDaid and Neil McLaughlin but Hibs stood firm to claim the win to leapfrog Celtic.
Hibs under-20s: Grant, Black, Baptie, Smith, Boateng, Gardiner, Harris, Jones, Cummings, Zoubir, Todd (Beaton, 65). Unused subs: Perntreou, Dunsmore, Wilson, Crane, Hendry, Martin.