A rampant Hibs strolled to their first win since manager Tony Mowbray left for English Championship club West Brom – despite heroics from Dunfermline’s goalkeeper Dorus De Vries.
Dutch keeper De Vries, now at Nottingham Forrest, frustrated the visitors with a number of superb saves as the Edinburgh side threatened to run riot.
Midfielder Scott Brown looked lively for the visitors in the opening ten minutes as they attempted to put the disappointment of losing manger Mowbray behind them.
Hibs, being coached by Mark Proctor for the first and only time, thought they had opened the scoring after seven minutes when striker Chris Killen shot home from just inside the area, but his effort was ruled out for offside. Merouane Zemmama saw plenty of the ball on the left wing for Hibs, but his passing in the early exchanges was not up to his usual standard.
Brown found Ivan Sproule down the right wing on 12 minutes but the Irishman’s near-post cross was cleared for a corner. A minute later Rob Jones headed Zemmama’s cross towards goal, but De Vries denied the defender with a fantastic reaction save.
The Pars were finding it difficult to clear their lines and should have fallen behind a minute later, but Killen somehow shot over from about six yards. Then, Sproule’s cross eluded Michael Stewart who slid in at the back post. The home side had loud penalty appeals waved aside when striker Mark Burchill tumbled in the box after attempting to round keeper Zbigniew Malkowski. De Vries then thwarted the visitors after 28 minutes when he saved from Sproule’s crisp drive.
Zemmama could not find a way past the outstanding Pars keeper on 32 minutes when his drive from the edge of the area was easily gathered. However, Hibs’ persistence finally paid off when they took the lead a minute before the break as Sproule latched onto Killen’s clever through-ball to lob De Vries from 12 yards.
Proctor’s side did not sit back after the break and it came as no surprise when they registered a second goal through Killen. The forward swept home a pass from Sproule in the 62nd minute after the Irishman’s mazy run down the right flank.
Midfield man Stewart then curled a right-foot shot towards goal but his effort cannoned back off the crossbar. Gary Mason tested Malkowski with a fierce drive from the edge of the box, but the keeper palmed the ball to safety.
Benjelloun got Hibs’ third when he drilled the ball home in the 89th minute following clever play by his Moroccan counterpart Zemmama on the right. Killen then rose to head home Zemmama’s corner two minutes later to complete a memorable night for the travelling Hibees and their fans.
Hibs: Malkowski, Whittaker, Murphy, Martis, Jones, Thomson, Stewart, Zemmama, Brown, Sproule, Killen.