Hibee History: Mogga’s men in seventh heaven

Derek Riordan plays keep-ball with two Livingston players in vain pursuit
Derek Riordan plays keep-ball with two Livingston players in vain pursuit
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Hibs brushed Livingston aside with an emphatic 7-0 win at Easter Road that moved the club up to third in the SPL.

It was the only fourth time a team had won 7-0 since the SPL’s inception in 1998.

With Rangers surprisingly slipping to defeat at Aberdeen, the Easter Road men moved a point clear of the Ibrox club and boosted their goal difference significantly in the process.

It was a relatively straightforward night for Tony Mowbray’s players, visitors Livi simply unable to cope with the attacking trio of Derek Riordan, Garry O’Connor and Chris Killen.

Despite a rather sluggish start from the home side, it was Kiwi Killen who set Hibs on their way with the opener after 19 minutes.

Former Hearts goalkeeper Roddy McKenzie showed his agility to deny Killen first time round before O’Connor was thwarted with the follow up. However, it was third time lucky for Hibs as Killen eventually got the better of the Livi No.1 to prod the ball into the empty net.

The hosts doubled their advantage shortly after the half hour mark when player/manager Paul Lambert brought down Riordan and the Hibs No.10 picked himself up to stroke the ball beyond McKenzie and into the bottom right corner for number two.

If Livi harboured any hopes of finding a route back into the game, their hopes were quickly dashed as they conceded a third just minutes after the restart.

Stephen Glass, so often the unsung hero for Hibs, played an inch-perfect pass to send Riordan clean through on goal and despite his angled drive seeming destined for the far corner, strike partner O’Connor was alert to touch the ball over the line at the far post.

Ivan Sproule was proving a real menace for the Livi rearguard with his blistering pace and McKenzie did well to block the Northern Irishman’s effort with his legs as Hibs went in search of a fourth.

However, it was Riordan who would find the target once again in what was his 50th goal in Scottish football’s top-flight. Sproule again came close to getting his name on the scoresheet but just as McKenzie thought he had done enough to knock the ball wide from the winger’s close-range effort, there was Riordan to slam the ball high into the net.

Livi’s night got worse with 20 minutes still left to play when Dave Mackay diverted a Glass corner beyond the outstretched McKenzie – the defender looking rather red-faced as he prepared himself for the restart.

Glass then hit the post from ten yards and wasted the follow up sending his effort over the bar before O’Connor made way for substitute Steven Fletcher. The youngster wasted little time in making an impression and got his name on the scoresheet with under five minutes to play.

With time to steady himself just outside the Livi penalty area, the striker sent an angled drive across goal and into the bottom corner for Hibs’ six of the evening. There were very few remaining travelling supporters left as the home side went in search of that elusive number seven. With time ticking, Hibs piled forward in pursuit of breaching the Livingston goal one final time and it was Fletcher, who answered those Hibs fans’ prayers with another neat finish that went beyond a demoralised McKenzie.

Hibs: Brown, Whittaker, Murphy, Caldwell, Smith, Stewart, Glass, Sproule, O’Connor, Riordan, Killen.