Lacklustre Hibs blown away by slick Dundee United as visitors end hoodoo
“So ******* easy” chanted the Dundee United fans after Kieran Freeman had put their side 3-0 up at Easter Road against Hibs.
They weren’t wrong. Just over a fortnight ago the Terrors had been blown away by Hibs in the first half of their Premier Sports Cup quarter-final at Tannadice. In this fixture, it was the visitors who terrorised their hosts.
There was no repeat of the 100mph start Hibs had enjoyed on Tayside. Instead the opening exchanges were peppered with stray passes and basic errors. When Chris Cadden did manage to swing over a cross it was either taken easily by Benji Siegrist in the United goal or travelled too far to make an impact.
At the other end Matt Macey had to be alert to palm an Ilmari Niskanen effort out for a corner as it looked to sneak into the far bottom corner but the Englishman was beaten by an almost identical effort on the stroke of half-time from Nicky Clark, who had earlier blazed a shot over the bar from distance.
It was no less than United deserved. Tam Courts’ side had just about shaded the play, although Hibs did make it easy for them by standing off and letting Clark have all the time in the world to pick his spot. It was a poor goal to lose by any team’s standards, let alone a side like Hibs who Jack Ross has admitted need to sharpen up when it comes to conceding.
Loud jeers followed the Hibs players down the tunnel but worse was to come.
Ross responded to his side’s lacklustre showing by introducing James Scott for Scott Allan at the break but it was United who threatened first, Jeando Fuchs sneaking past the defence with the Hibs players screaming for an offside flag.
Moments later United did double their advantage. Hibs could only clear a Declan Glass corner as far as Scott McMann and the full-back’s cross was headed home by Ryan Edwards.
The same player then put his head in the way of a fierce Jamie Murphy-bound shot, clearing it for a corner to rapturous applause from the still buoyant travelling support.
After that it was virtually one-way traffic towards Siegrist’s goal but headed efforts from Kevin Nisbet and Nathan Wood fell wide of the post and when Murphy did manage a shot on target it lacked power and was straight down the ‘keeper’s throat.
With 15 minutes remaining, United put together a sumptuous sequence of play ending with Freeman sweeping the ball into the net for the third.
Cue bedlam behind the goal, and queues on the stairs of the other three stands as a large number of Hibs fans decided they had seen enough.
Hibs might have been without the likes of Kyle Magennis, Paul McGinn, and Ryan Porteous but it’s debateable if they would have made much of a difference. United were as slick as Hibs were poor and well worth their win – and it could have been by a greater margin.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say this was one of the poorest performances since Ross took the reins. Most supporters are delighted to see the return of the domestic game after international breaks. Hibs fans might have been happier to see it extended.