Hibs 2 Arsenal 1 RECAP: Boyle and MacKay strike for hosts, Smith-Rowe on target for Gunners as Pepe penalty saved
Hibs host English Premier League giants Arsenal in a pre-season friendly this evening.
Mikel Arteta brings his star-studded Gunners north for a fixture that also marks the return of fans to Easter Road for the first time since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020.
It is the first time the two sides have met since 1955 when Lawrie Reilly and Eddie Turnbull were on target in a 2-2 draw at Easter Road. Hibs were actually leading 2-0 with around 15 minutes to play until Doug Lishman and Jimmy Bloomfield earned the Londoners a draw.
The match is the first pre-season fixture for the visitors while Jack Ross’ first team have already completed three friendlies with a 4-1 win over Dunfermline, followed by a 1-0 defeat to Accrington Stanley before a 1-1 draw with Stoke City last Friday.
Tonight’s game promises to be an intriguing one and you can follow all the action as it happens in our live blog:
Hibs 2 Arsenal 1 FT
- Boyle gives Hibs 21st minute lead
- McKay nods home Hibs second
- Almost 2-0 as Bradley strikes post
- Pepe penalty saved by Dabrowski
- Smith-Rowe pulls one back for Gunners
Good afternoon from a warm and sunny Easter Road where 2000 fans return for the first time since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020 for a pre-season fixture against English Premier League giants Arsenal. It is sure to be an interesting match against glamour opposition so stick with us for team news and match updates.
Hibs have named their starting XI with some notable absentees from the squad including Josh Doig and Christian Doidge, who missed much of pre-season due to Covid issues, while new signing Jake-Doyle Hayes is injured. There’s also no place for Darren McGregor, Jamie Murphy and Stevie Mallan. Jamie Gullan was a late addition to the subs bench ahead of kick-off.
No Kieran Tierney in the visitors squad as the left-back continues to recover from his Euro 2020 exertions with Scotland. Hibs defence will have their work cut out though against £56m striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - the star name in an Arsenal line-up that also features Bosnian international defender Sead Kolašinac and Brazilian star Willian. There’s also the small matter of multi-million pounds of talent on the bench with Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pépé among the stand-out substitutes.
A nice touch from the hosts is recognised by Arsenal as a Hibs strip bearing the name of Bukayo Saka, who missed the decisive penalty in England’s Euro 2020 defeat to Italy, is pictured hanging in the away dressing room. The 19-year-old Gunners forward has been racially abused on social media following the penalty miss and the Easter Road side’s gesture has been appreciated by the visitors.
Hibs have thrown their support behind Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka in the wake of the England international being subjected to horrific racial abuse in the aftermath of the Euro 2020 final
Both sets of players take the knee ahead of kick-off to rapturous applause from the 2000 fans inside Easter Road before Hibs, wearing their traditional green home kit, get us under way against Arsenal, who are wearing yellow.
A good positive opening minute for the home side who attack down the right with McGinn sending a deep cross beyond the back post that Boyle collects and delivers back into the box only for goalkeeper Okonkwo to collect ahead of Nisbet.
A mistake from Hanlon who is caught out by the pace of Nketiah, who robs the defender to run clear on goal only to send his effort wide of Macey’s left-hand post. The Hibs captain offers his apologies to his team-mates.
Now it’s the visitors turn for a mix-up at the back as Okonkwo drops a harmless cross from Boyle that hits the back of an unsuspecting Nisbet before the Gunners defence scramble behind for a corner. An unconvincing moment from the young English ‘keeper.
Nketiah’s pace poses problems again for Hibs as Newell has his pocket picked by the England U21 star who then feeds the ball to Aubameyang in the box but his shot is well-blocked by Porteous.