Dundee United 1, Hibs 3: Dominant Hibees make it two wins out of two under Shaun Maloney
Nisbet tucked home the opener seven minutes before the break, turning in Martin Boyle’s shot, and Cadden fired in the second from Boyle’s cut-back.
Hibs could have had the third soon after, Nisbet beating the offside trap and attempting to play in substitute Jamie Murphy but the striker’s touch was too heavy and Benji Siegrist was quick off his line to smother the ball.
Declan Glass halved the deficit after a lovely run from midway inside the Hibs’ half, riding two challenges and cutting inside before arrowing an effort into the top right-hand corner, setting up a nervy final couple of minutes, but Murphy made the points safe right at the death, dancing inside from the left wing and finding the bottom corner with a low shot that Siegrist got a hand to but couldn’t keep out.
The visitors looked more in control in the second half, with the opening half-hour veering dangerously close to “typical Boxing Day fare”, with neither side really able to carve out a clear-cut chance.
Paul Hanlon saw a looping header cleared off the line by Nicky Clark before Josh Doig’s cross found Cadden at the back post. Scott McMann charged down the wingback’s volley and as Boyle drilled the ball towards goal Nisbet put the ball over the line despite desperate appeals for an offside flag from the United defence.
Cadden then came close to setting up Drey Wright but the midfielder was unable to get a clean connection and danger was averted.
United made a change at the break, bringing on Ilmari Niskanen for Kieran Freeman, and the hosts were handed a golden opportunity to level when Hanlon brought down Clark after a weak header from Lewis Stevenson had played in the Terrors forward.
Clark took the free kick himself, trying a low effort that Matt Macey had to scramble away for a corner, which came to nothing. Up the other end Wright sought out Nisbet with a cross but the forward was unable to get a shot away and United cleared their lines.
Maloney introduced Murphy for Wright shortly after the hour mark in a bid to freshen things up but it was Nisbet who was next to try his luck but his shot from distance sailed harmlessly into the Shed.
Adrian Sporle then gave Macey something to think about with a fierce drive from the left side of the box, the ‘keeper pushing it away for a corner.
With 13 minutes remaining United were reduced to ten men. Chalrie Mulgrew was forced off with an injury but with Tam Courts having used all three subs, the home side were forced to see out the game a man down.
Hibs capitalised on the man advantage, Cadden scoring his first goal for the club after Boyle did well to cut the ball back after a smart through-ball from Jake Doyle-Hayes.
Glass then gave United hope with a wonderful run and finish before Murphy sealed victory with a well-taken strike in injury time.