Hibs Under-18s advance to Scottish Youth Cup semi-finals after victory over Celtic

Hibs Under-18s are through to the sem-finals of the Scottish Youth Cup after a 1-0 victory over Celtic at the Hibernian Training Centre.

By Patrick McPartlin
Friday, 28th January 2022, 10:22 pm
Updated Friday, 28th January 2022, 10:24 pm
Connor Young's 40-yard free-kick was enough to take Hibs into the last four of the Scottish Youth Cup. Picture: Maurice Dougan
Connor Young's 40-yard free-kick was enough to take Hibs into the last four of the Scottish Youth Cup. Picture: Maurice Dougan

Connor Young’s long-range free-kick midway through the first half was the difference on a blustery night at East Mains that wasn’t conducive to flowing football.

Gareth Evans’ side put seven past Montrose in the second round before a 5-0 victory over Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale in the previous round and, having won the competition in 2018, are looking to do so for a fourth time.

They are still to concede a cup goal and are unbeaten in all competitions since the start of the 2021/22 campaign.

The last time the two teams met at East Mains, a Freddie Wylie goal gave Hibs a 1-0 win in the CAS Elite Under-18s League, so another close encounter was expected.

Both sides started brightly without creating much in the way of clear-cut chances. Murray Johnson had to be alert to scramble away a low cross on the edge of the six-yard box while Mack Weir sent a header narrowly over from a corner.

Josh O’Connor tested Joe Morrison in the Celtic goal with an effort from distance that led to a corner before Johnson got down well to deny Aidan Cannon the opener.

Ethan Laidlaw flashed a shot across the face of goal on 20 minutes as Hibs upped the tempo and they took the lead moments later after O’Connor had been felled.

Young is no stranger to a free-kick goal, and there might have been some wind assistance, but his powerful effort from all of 40 yards looked destined for the top corner all the way despite the best efforts of Morrison.

Laidlaw had another effort blocked before Morrison pulled off a spectacular save to deny O’Connor a second with a wickedly curling shot from the edge of the area.

The second half saw fewer chances with O’Connor hitting the side-netting early on after good work by Young and testing Morrison from distance but the wind picked up, making life difficult for both teams.

Johnson was called into action with around 20 minutes remaining to prevent a Celtic equaliser, with Hibs holding out to advance to the last four.

Hibs: Johnson, J MacIntyre, Aiken, Weir, Megwa, O MacIntyre, Hamilton, Zaid, Laidlaw, Young, O’Connor. Subs not used: Blair, Blaney, McCulloch, Hastie, Wylie, Watt, Molotnikov.

Celtic: Morrison, Luyeye, Mackenzie, Goldie, Easton, Agbaire, B Davidson, Deane, Cannon, Letsosa, Bonnar. Subs: McLean, Donovan, Robertson, Frame, A Davidson, Dede.