Inspired by comeback kid Jair Tavares on a freezing day in Dundee, ten-man Hibs held on to secure three precious points. In a game that saw Tavares and rampaging Aussie right back Lewis Miller find the net, before the latter was sent off for a second bookable offence, Nick Montgomery’s men survived a sustained onslaught on their goal – despite Owen Beck’s late strike – to secure a 2-1 win.
In a week when Tavares had bravely opened up over the mental devastation caused by a year out in the cold, this feels like a result of enormous psychological importance. While the Portuguese winger’s redemptive arc continues to enthral fans wondering why on earth former gaffer Lee Johnson was so dismissive of a player he’d signed and then talked up, the narrative surrounding fellow goal scorer Miller isn’t quite so clear cut. If his header to make it 2-0 with 57 minutes gone was quite brilliant, the first of his bookings was downright dumb – and his second, leading to the red card just five minutes after scoring, was arguably ill-advised.
Dundee’s siege upon the Hibs area, inspired by Man of the Match Luke McCowan, produced one goal for the always-dangerous Beck with 85 minutes gone. Despite playing six minutes of injury time, however, a Hibs side with a tendency to concede late goals found a way to survive.
They were worthy winners, on balance. They certainly started the game with intent, mainly thanks to Tavares. A multi-faceted attacking threat who considers his starting position on the left wing as no more than a suggestion about where he might pop up.
He’d already gone scampering down that flank once early in the game, providing an excellent cutback that saw Campbell fire a shot over the bar, when he was given another chance to impress. With 16 minutes on the clock, he shook free of a blue-shirted marker just inside the Dundee half – and headed straight for the danger zone.
Dylan Vente peeled off towards the left corner flag to open up space for others and, when he received the ball, the Dutch forward showed great composure. He didn’t look to find the feet of Campell, who was tightly marked, but waited for his dummy run – which allowed him to roll the ball across for Tavares to finish in style.
Beautiful in the simplicity of its design and the accuracy of its execution, it was a goal that put Hibs in control. Even if David Marshall did have to make a couple of excellent saves from the lively McCowan before half-time.
A fine in-swinging corner from Joe Newell was met on the full by the forehead of a soaring Miller to make it 2-0 early in the second half. Then came the red mist. Followed by the red card.
When Beck hammered home at the second attempt to make it 2-1, things definitely to nervy. But Marshall made a huge save from McCowan – and Dundee could not find a better effort to beat the veteran goalie.
Tavares led the celebrations at full-time, roaring his appreciation to the Hibs support, milking every moment of the victory party. After all he’s been through, why not?
Here’s how the players rated: