Hibs Under-18s strengthen title bid with hard-fought victory over Celtic Under-18s
Hibs were missing a handful of players with Jacob Blaney, Ethan Laidlaw, and Josh McCulloch – all regular starters – unavailable but despite the makeshift aspect of the team, the hosts had the better of the chances in the opening exchanges.
Murray Aiken, normally found in midfield, started on the right of a back three in front of Murray Johnson along with Mack Weir and Kanayo Megwa while Jacob MacIntyre and brother Oscar took up the right and left-wingback roles respectively.
Wylie and Malik Zaid were joined by Robbie Hamilton in midfield with Josh O’Connor partnering Connor Young in attack.
Young had the ball in the back of the net early on only for the linesman’s flag to rule it out while O’Connor had a couple of chances that Celtic ‘keeper Joe Morrison dealt with easily enough.
Young then tested Morrison with a low free kick from the edge of the ‘D’ just after the half-hour mark after he was brought down en route to goal but chances were at a premium in both halves.
Just before half-time, Hibs took the lead; O’Connor beating his man on the left flank and picking out Zaid, who did well to hold up the ball in the area before laying it off for the on-rushing Wylie to steer home.
Referee Paul Hanlon blew for half-time shortly after, giving both teams a chance to regroup and Hibs’ new academy chief Steve Kean a chance to speak to the players along with Eddie May and Gareth Evans.
Hibs started the second period as they had finished, Weir blazing over before Young picked out Hamilton at the back post with a free kick, but the midfielder couldn’t keep his first-time effort down.
Celtic came into the game more as the half wore on but didn’t really test Johnson until the ‘keeper was required to tip over a free kick on the hour mark.
Hibs might have made it two late on when Aiken countered and picked out Young, but O’Connor was flagged offside after his strike-partner played him in.