Hibs through to next round of Scottish Youth Cup after comprehensive win against Montrose
If there was any added pressure on the wee Hibees after a series of surprising results in the competition earlier in the day, they didn’t show it as they raced into a 3-0 lead inside the opening fifteen minutes.
With a handful of players unavailable through injury and international duty, young left-back Owen Hastie was handed a first start at left-back, with Oscar MacIntyre pushed further forward into midfield.
After Mack Weir headed wide early on, a kick up the park by goalkeeper Murray Johnson was misjudged by the visiting defence and Connor Young’s backheel teed up Josh O’Connor who curled a shot into the far corner for a well-worked opener.
Two minutes later Murray Aiken made it two, finishing from close range after some deft footwork. Before a quarter of an hour had passed, Weir went one better than his first attempt on goal, bundling the ball over the line following a corner.
Connor Young was next to get in on the act, adding a fine fourth from the edge of the area on 25 minutes with Hibs looking dangerous every time they ventured forward.
Montrose were struggling to carve out any openings of their own and on the rare occasions they did breach the backline, Johnson was on hand to mop up.
With ten minutes until the interval McCulloch embarked on a run down the right flank and his low cross was tapped home by O’Connor for his second and Hibs’ fifth.
O’Connor completed his hat-trick on the stroke of half-time as his effort from just outside the box took a slight deflection, deceiving the visiting ‘keeper and giving the hosts a seemingly unassailable half-time lead.
Robbie Hamilton replaced Hastie for the second half as Gareth Evans and Eddie May shuffled the formation and although Hibs threatened through Aiken and Hamilton, and Young cracked a shot off the bar, there were no further goals until 14-year-old substitute Josh Landers got on the end of a Laidlaw corner for the seventh five minutes from time.
Three Youth Cup matches will be decided on Sunday October 24 after which three-time winners Hibs should learn their opponents for the next round.