Hibs go top of Reserve League after victory over Ayr United

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An Ethan Laidlaw penalty and goals from Josh O’Connor and Josh McCulloch sent Hibs top of the SPFL Reserve League as they defeated Ayr United 3-1 on Tuesday at Townhead Park.

The hosts were awarded and scored a late penalty but it proved to be merely a consolation as Hibs left Cumnock with all three points and now sit at the summit of the second-string competition with ten points from four matches.

With Jacob MacIntyre and Rudi Molotnikov both returning from international duty with Scotland under-17s and named on the bench, a reshuffle was undertaken in midfield with Reuben McAllister, Allan Delferrière, McCulloch, and Malik Zaid making up the midfield behind Laidlaw and O’Connor up top. The back four was well marshalled by player-coach Darren McGregor alongside Kanayo Megwa, Jacob Blaney, and Oscar MacIntyre.

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It was the latter who won the penalty leading to Hibs’ opening goal, an Ayr defender fouling the left-back and Laidlaw stepping up to continue his impressive scoring run from 12 yards. Shortly before the 30-minute mark O’Connor doubled Hibs’ advantage, finishing neatly from McCulloch’s cutback.

Josh O'Connor was on target to help send Hibs top of the Reserve LeagueJosh O'Connor was on target to help send Hibs top of the Reserve League
Josh O'Connor was on target to help send Hibs top of the Reserve League

Midway through the second half the visitors made it three, when McCulloch went from provider to goalscorer, nutmegging a defender before driving towards the penalty area and slotting it past the ‘keeper at the near post. Kean brought on Molotnikov and Jacob MacIntyre after that and although Hibs couldn’t score again, and Ayr reduced the deficit from the penalty spot through Michael Moffat after Megwa was penalised for handling in the area, Hibs saw the game out to move top of the table.

Hibs: M Johnson, Megwa, O MacIntyre, Blaney, McGregor, McAllister, Delferrière, Zaid, McCulloch, Laidlaw, O’Connor.

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