Hibs Under-18s get league campaign off to winning start with victory over Aberdeen

Hibs Under-18s got their league campaign off to a winning start with a convincing win against their Aberdeen counterparts at the Hibernian Training Centre on Friday night.

Josh O'Connor bagged a double as Hibs 18s defeated Aberdeen 18s 4-1
Josh O'Connor bagged a double as Hibs 18s defeated Aberdeen 18s 4-1

It was a young Hibs side that took to the pitch at East Mains with 15-year-old Jacob MacIntyre, fresh from his experience with Scotland Under-16s, named in the starting line-up.

The wee Hibees scored 29 goals in 12 games last term and they took fewer than ten minutes to get the ball rolling in this match, Josh O’Connor finishing beyond Blessing Oluyemi in the Aberdeen goal after good work from Ethan Laidlaw on the left flank.

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The visitors failed to really test Josh Blair in the Hibs goal in the opening exchanges but defended well as they grew into the game.

On 25 minutes, Ryan Duncan – who scored a 35-yard free-kick against Hibs at East Mains in April – pulled the Dons level with a similar effort from a set-piece albeit from closer in.

The teams went in level at the break but it felt like there were more goals to come.

Mack Weir entered the fray at half-time replacing MacIntyre as the centre-half stepped up his return from injury and Hibs started the second half on the front foot.

O’Connor in particular was proving a handful for the Dons defence supported by Laidlaw, Murray Aiken, and the impressive Freddie Wylie who caught the eye on the right flank.

The latter had a strong claim for a penalty waved away by referee Vikki Allan after it looked like he was bundled over in the area but O’Connor grabbed his and Hibs’ second on the hour-mark, finishing past Oluyemi from the left side of the box.

Laidlaw extended Hibs’ lead with a smart finish from a tight angle moments later before making way for another Scotland Under-16 cap in Rudi Molotnikov, who hit the post with one effort and forced Oluyemi into a spectacular save with a fierce drive in a bright substitute appearance.

Jacob Blaney added a fourth near the end, slamming home from close range after Robbie Hamilton’s free kick wasn’t dealt with by the Aberdeen defence.

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Hibs: Josh Blair; Gregor Fordyce, Jacob Blaney, Josh McCulloch, Oscar MacIntyre; Freddie Wylie (Ben Reilly, 87), Murray Aiken, Robbie Hamilton, Ethan Laidlaw (Rudi Molotnikov, 72), Jacob MacIntyre (Mack Weir, 45); Josh O’Connor (Malek Zaid, 87). Sub not used: Freddie Owens.