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.

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 5:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 8:05 pm
Kevin Dabrowski saves Pepe's penalty to preserve Hibs' 2-0 lead over Arsenal. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Kevin Dabrowski saves Pepe's penalty to preserve Hibs' 2-0 lead over Arsenal. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

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.

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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

Last updated: Tuesday, 13 July, 2021, 18:43

  • 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 show solidarity with Arsenal and Bukayo Saka with Easter Road gesture

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.

Macey is called into action as Nelson cuts in from the left and drills a shot towards the far corner that the former Arsenal stopper touches wide at full stretch.

21: GOAL Hibs 1 (Boyle) Arsenal 0

A howler from goalkeeper Okonkwo who fails to control a bouncing passback from Soares leaving Boyle free to tap into an empty net.

A pinpoint cross from Allan finds the head of Nisbet in the box but the Scotland striker can only head straight at Okonkwo. Decent chance for Hibs to extend their lead.

Hibs survive a scare as a ball to the back post finds Kolasnic in space to knock-down for Nelson to send a volley towards goal that Hanlon manages to block near the line before McGinn boots clear. Hibs defence being tested by coping thus far.

A period of Arsenal pressure is relieved by Nisbet who leads a counter-attack then waits for support, finding it in Boyle, who receives the pass 25 yards out and forces Okonkwo into a diving save with a powerful drive. Arsenal are dominating the ball more now but the home side remain a threat.

Allan shows the difference he makes to this Hibs side with a glorious defence-splitting ball for Bradley to race into the box and smash a low effort against the near post. Great stuff from the home side who almost go two up.

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