Hibs put six past Berwick in pre-season friendly
Hibs shone in the Borders sunshine as they coasted to a 6-0 win over Berwick Rangers.
Neil Lennon’s side dominated throughout against the League Two outfit and were three goals to the good by half-time thanks to Oli Shaw, Simon Murray and captain David Gray.
Lennon rang the changes in the second half, using all six substitutes as Steven Whittaker, Shaw again, and Lewis Allan added to the scoreline with Berwick not even offering a shot on target in return.
The Easter Road club’s coach was caught in traffic following a serious accident on the city bypass which had created traffic chaos, but they managed to arrive at Shielfield Park for a kick-off which was delayed by only six minutes.
And, as Lennon’s players stepped from the team bus, the absence of Scotland midfielder John McGinn – the subject of a rejected £1.5 million bid from Celtic – was immediately spotted by those Hibs fans basking in the sunshine outside the ground.
“Rested” along with Darren McGregor, Florian Kamberi and Marvin Bartley – all four having featured in the Edinburgh club’s first pre-season friendly against Linlithgow Rose at the weekend – was the official explanation but even with no word of a further offer from Glasgow, it certainly set tongues wagging.
There was, though, a first sight of Lennon’s latest signing, Liverpool goalkeeper Adam Bogdan although the Hungarian internationalist was little more than a spectator, looking on as his team-mates coasted into a 3-0 lead before making way for Ross Laidlaw after the interval.
A summer jaunt across the Tweed has become an annual affair for Hibs, this their fifth successive trip and they made themselves right at home with a 13th-minute opener courtesy of some generosity on the part of their hosts.
Robert Wilson and Jamie Todd got themselves in a fankle at the edge of their own penalty area, presenting Shaw with an opportunity the youngster wasn’t going to pass up as he lashed the ball beyond goalkeeper Alasdair Adams.
A friendly it may have been tagged, but by that point referee Gavin Ross had already flashed the yellow card at Berwick’s Declan O’Kane for a scything challenge on Scott Martin while a string of meaty tackles from both sides kept the whistler busy.
As was expected, the Capital side dominated against their League Two opponents, Gray and Paul Hanlon both sending headers just wide but Murray, like Shaw vying to be the one to partner Swiss hitman Kamberi up front when the serious action gets underway, doubled their lead before the half-hour mark.
Lithuanian midfielder Vykintas Slivka was the architect, his surging run opening space on his right for the pass which Murray drilled hard and low across Adams.
Gray saw a header from Danny Swanson’s corner taken off the line by Jed Davie, but the Hibs skipper enjoys a goal in this particular fixture and netted once more with a tremendous volley.
There was no let-up for the hard-pressed Berwick defence in the second half, Whittaker striding forward from the back to drill a low shot between substitute goalkeeper Sean Brennan and his left-hand post.
Former Hibs kid Brennan, however, did well using his legs to keep out Jamie Gullan’s effort from 18 yards after a surging run down the left from fellow substitute Sean Mackie had opened up the home defence.
Hibs did make it five with 14 minutes remaining. Martin Boyle’s persistence paid off, the ball breaking for Shaw to turn it home from close range for his second of the match.
The Capital side were in no mood to take their foot off the pedal and, with a minute remaining, Lewis Stevenson and Boyle combined to allow Lewis Allan to wrap up the win.
Berwick Rangers: Adams (Brennan 46), Fleming, O’Kane (J Murphy 88), Wilson, Todd, Lavery (Trialist B, 59), Willis (Trialist A, 69), Cook (McCrorie 88), Murphy (Trialist D, 76), Davie (Chapman 59), Rose (Trialist C, 46)
Hibs: Bogdan (Laidlaw 46), Gray (Boyle 46), Whittaker (Stirling 58), Hanlon, Ambrose, Stevenson, S Martin, Slivka (Mackie 61), Swanson (Gullan 69), Shaw, S Murray (L Allan 74).
Referee: Gavin Ross.