Monty hails clinical Hibs as veteran leads scoring spree

Adam Le Fondre celebrates his goal in a handsome victory.Adam Le Fondre celebrates his goal in a handsome victory.
Adam Le Fondre celebrates his goal in a handsome victory.
Marshall and Cadden injury updates as international break looms

Hibs boss Nick Montgomery hailed his players for a clinical dismantling of lowly Livingston at Easter Road. But he insisted no-one in the home camp will get carried away by their return – temporary or otherwise – to the Scottish Premiership top six.

The Hibees blew Livi away with a whirlwind start, going 3-0 up in just over 20 minutes. And they were rarely troubled as the held the visitors goalless for the rest of the game.

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Dundee could leapfrog back over Hibs to push Monty’s men down into seventh by beating Rangers at Dens Park tomorrow. But the manager says his players deserve to feel pleased with a win over the team sitting bottom of the table.

“That was an enjoyable afternoon, three points, three goals and a clean sheet, a real professional performance in a game everyone expected to win,” said Montgomery. “There are times we haven’t been clinical enough and punished teams. It’s something you work on a lot. The hardest thing in football is putting the ball in the back of the net, but we did it clinically today.

“I’m probably a bit disappointed we didn’t get a couple more goals. But we have to be pleased with the result after a tough week, a long trip home from Ross County after a tiring game on a soft pitch, a couple of boys struggling a bit in the second half today.

“It was nice to score three early goals. There have been a lot of games where we’ve dominated but not punished teams.

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“We punished Livingston in the first half with some really good football, showing real composure and control in and around the box. I thought Adam Le Fondre today, again, with a goal and assist, showed his value.

“It’s been nice to get him back fit, because he’s been a big loss to the team through injury. But I thought everybody played their part today.

“Joe Newell and Nectar Triantis were excellent in the middle of the park. And it was really hard to pick out anybody who didn’t put in a really good performance at the end of a tough three-game week.

“It’s always nice to be in the top six. But we can’t get carried away with what could be, what should be. At the end of the day, we’ve gone on a good run. We should have had more points than we do – because of things out of our control.

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“The things we can control, we showed today that we can put in a good performance in a game where we’re expected to win. And we got the fans behind us; they were fantastic today. Again.

“We go into the international break now on the back of six games undefeated. We have to take that momentum into the break, recover a few boys, get a few back from injury, and give everything we can between now and the end of the season.”

Le Fondre was Man of the Match with a goal and assist, Montgomery saying: “He’s an important player for us, but only when he’s fit and available! He’s been frustrated with injuries.

“His movement, and the way he brings others into play is the reason why he’s had the career he’s had. I’ve a lot of time for Adam, I’ve known him a long time. It’s nice for him to come back in at a time where we needed a few bodies. He’s producing the goals, as I know he can do.”

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David Marshall was replaced at half-time, while Chris Cadden – only just back from an Achilles’ tendon injury sustained at the end of last season – was replaced just after the hour mark, Monty saying: “Marsh had a little bit of a stiff neck before the game. At half-time, we decided not to risk him, heading into the break and with the score the way it was.

“It was a good opportunity for Jojo Wollacott to come in, and he did well. Myziane Maolida had a tight muscle, Cadden had tightness. It was important not to take unnecessary risks with important players.

“There’s a two-week break coming up which gives us a chance to recover everybody and get a few back from injury. All in all, it was a good afternoon.”