Hibs Under-18s score five without reply against Hearts in mini derby

Hibs eased to victory over Hearts in Friday night’s CAS Elite Under-18 League derby at the Hibernian Training Centre courtesy of doubles from Ethan Laidlaw and Jay McGarva, and a Jacob MacIntyre solo goal.

McGarva opened the scoring early on before doubling his advantage, with Laidlaw involved in both goals, before MacIntyre latched onto Dean Cleland’s clever through-ball and sped into the box before firing past the ‘keeper. Laidlaw then scored twice from the penalty spot early in the second period.

The hosts came into the game on a high following their midweek win on the road against Celtic and went ahead with just three minutes on the clock. Laidlaw advanced towards the opposition box and saw McGarva’s late run, lofting a clever chipped pass to his team-mate who hit it first time into the bottom corner to put Hibs in front. A cute pass from MacIntyre sent Cleland through on goal ten minutes later but the offside flag went up sharpish. Moments later a ball over the top from Ricky Waugh nearly set Laidlaw on a path for goal but the bounce eluded his touch and Hearts cleared.

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McGarva and Laidlaw combined again for Hibs’ second on 21 minutes. Laidlaw’s powerful header from Reuben McAllister’s corner struck the bar and McGarva reacted first to knock in his and Hibs’ second of the night.

Jay McGarva, left, and Ethan Laidlaw both scored doubles as Hibs Under-18s defeated Hearts 5-0 at HTC. Picture: Maurice Dougan

The impressive Cleland was the architect for Hibs’ third just before the half-hour mark. With his back to goal he received the ball and nudged it through for the overlapping MacIntyre, who outpaced the Hearts defence and found the bottom corner to make it three.

Hibs’ pressing was relentless and the attacking quintet of Cleland, Laidlaw, McGarva, MacIntyre, and Rudi Molotnikov looked threatening any time they advanced on the final third.

Hearts nearly found a way back into the game approaching half-time when a hanging cross wasn’t dealt with but Freddie Owens blocked the ball at his near post with a smart save to maintain Hibs’ three-goal advantage.

Hibs picked up where they had left off following the interval with Molotnikov firing over, and Gareth Evans’ side were awarded a penalty after Owen Hastie was wrestled to the ground at a corner. Laidlaw stepped up and fired high into the goal to make it 4-0. Referee Lewis Hogarth pointed to the spot again not long after, adjudging a hand to have been used, and Laidlaw again found the net from 12 yards for Hibs’ fifth.

Hibs forward Ethan Laidlaw looks to attack a cross during the mini Edinburgh derby at HTC. Picture: Maurice Dougan

Hearts began playing some nice football as Hibs relaxed a little but couldn’t beat Owens and in truth, most of their efforts were straight at the home ‘keeper, who wasn’t really tested throughout the 90 minutes.

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Molotnikov stung the ‘keeper’s palms with a well-struck effort from distance and Laidlaw showed blistering pace to get down the left and cross for Cleland, but his effort was blocked.

Substitute Josh Landers, on for Cleland, was sent clear on goal but good defending from the visitors prevented him from getting a shot away and Hastie saw a fierce header from a corner cleared off the line as Hearts defended resolutely in the face of sustained pressure. Hibs might have won by more in the end but the visitors deserve credit for their performance in the second half, which was much improved on the first.

Hibs: Owens, Whittaker, Khan, Hastie, Waugh (Smith); J MacIntyre, McAllister; Cleland (Landers), Molotnikov, McGarva, Laidlaw. Subs not used: Samuels, Bulloch, Geaney, McLean, Holden.