Hibee History: Russell Latapy shines as Pars self destruct

Russell Latapy was at his brilliant best
Russell Latapy was at his brilliant best
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Russell Latapy sparkled as Hibs eased past a Dunfermline Athletic side forced to play for nearly an hour with ten men.

Dutch midfielder Rob Matthaei was sent off after kicking out at Stuart Lovell off the ball.

Second-top Hibs took the lead after only six minutes through Ulrik Laursen and Latapy set up David Zitelli and Mixu Paatelainen for further goals after the break.

Latapy controlled midfield, despite man-marking by Michel Doesburg.

Dunfermline had the excuse of an injury crisis.

Hibs had just one change, with first-choice goalkeeper Nick Colgan returning from injury. The visitors arrived without nine first-teamers, including suspended Moroccan internationalist Youssef Rossi.

Dunfermiline had not won a league game at Easter Road since the 1961-62 season and Hibs never looked like losing their record as they took an early lead. Zitelli had already volleyed over from 12 yards by the time they made the breakthrough. Gary Smith sent a cross to the back post, where Zitelli flicked the ball into the path of Laursen.

The full-back held off Lee Bullen and left Scott Thomson flat footed before sliding the ball under goalkeeper Marco Ruitenbeek.

Any hope Dunfermline had of a comeback virtually disappeared after 32 minutes. Lovell dispossessed Matthaei, who then lashed out at the Australian international midfielder as the ball broke clear.

With the Pars midfielder dispatched to the dressing-room, Paatelainen and John O’Neil missed golden opportunities for Hibs.

Latapy finally made their numerical advantage pay after 55 minutes, however. The Trinidad and Tobago internationalist brushed past Doesburg. He then rounded the advancing Ruitenbeek and played the ball across the goal-line for Zitelli to poke it home.

Dunfermline brought on forwards Junior Mendes and David Graham in an attempt to bring themselves back into the game. Long-range efforts from former Hibs striker Steve Crawford and McGarty finally threatened the Hibs goal.

But Hibs simply further exploited Dunfermline’s lack of numbers at the back. Latapy’s pass found Paatelainen in acres of space after 69 minutes. The Finnish striker poked the ball past the goalkeeper and into the far corner.

Hibs: Colgan, Laursen, Sauzee, Lovell, Fenwick, G. Smith, Latapy, O’Neil, Jack, Paatelainen, Zitelli.Subs: Franks, Andrews, Lehmann, Murray, McManus.

Dunfermline: Ruitenbeek, Skinner, Skerla, S. Thomson, Doesburg, Crawford, Bullen, Hampshire, Matthaei, Nicholson, McGarty. Subs: S. Thomson, Martin, Graham, Mendes, McDonald.

Referee: K Clark.