HIBS continued their game of leapfrog with Rangers as they retook second place in the Championship table with an easy victory over Dumbarton.
First half goals from Franck Dja Djedje and Dominique Malonga killed the game as a contest and although Malonga added a second after the interval they’d have been a little disappointed not to have scored more.
Hibs were dealt a blow before kick-off as midfield star Scott Allan was ruled out through illness. Club skipper Liam Craig was also absent through suspension while David Gray and Jason Cummings dropped to the bench.
Fraser Fyvie, Danny Handling and Dja Djedje all came into the starting line-up while, with Sam Stanton also out having contracted mumps, 18-year-old Conner Duthie was among the substitutes for the first time.
Dumbarton’s intent was clear from the first whistle, anxious to get as many men behind the ball when Hibs were in possession and to frustrate the Easter Road side.
It was a ploy which worked well for a spell, Alan Stubbs’ side lacking a tempo and rythmn as they tried to unlock that packed defence.
But just as frustration was mounting, Dja Djedje took Keith Watson’s low cross with his back to goal, held off Mark Gilhaney who had a chance to clear and swivelled to send a low shot beyond Sons’ goalkeeper Danny Rogers.
Three minutes later Hibs were two ahead, Watson again the supplier as his cross picked out Malonga who steered the ball home with his head for his 12th goal of the season and his first in a green shirt for two months given his time away on international duty at the African Cup of Nations.
Malonga could have added to his tally when Fyvie picked him out with a superb pass, the striker beating Rogers only to see his effort slide inches wide.
Referee Greg Aitken waved away Watson’s claims for a penalty when he appeared to be tripped by Scott Linton as Hibs went looking for a third at the start of the second half.
However, it was only delayed, Scott Robertson exchanging passes with Dylan McGeouch before playing the ball for Malonga who initially appeared to leave it for Handling only to fire in a shot which deflected off Stuart Findlay and into the net.
Scott Agnew was in the right place to head Paul Hanlon’s powerful header from McGeouch’s corner off his own line as Hibs reminaed in total control of the game with a tame header from Garry Fleming Dumbarton’s only hint of danger in the entire 90 minutes.
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