Hibs opened their Ladbrokes Premiership 2018/19 season impressively ... and here we assess how.
• For so long Martin Boyle’s blistering pace appeared to be his one true asset, but over the course of the past 18 months he has emerged as a key player for Hibs. He obviously still has that ability to leave opponents trailing in his wake but under Neil Lennon the former Montrose and Dundee player has become much more involved in games and playing through the middle, as he did to good effect against Motherwell on this occasion, has seen him become a real goal threat.
• At 19 he’s obviously raw, but Ryan Porteous never fails to repay Neil Lennon’s faith in the Scotland Under-21 defender.
This was only his third start in the Premiership – his first came in a victory at Ibrox – and Motherwell’s front two of Curtis Main and Connor Sammon, two big units liable to knock anyone about, undoubtedly presented the youngster with possibly the toughest physical challenge he has yet to face. But Porteous simply seems to thrive in such situations, never shirking a tackle, happy to come back time and again as he stands his corner and ever-willing to give as good as he gets when it comes to the rough stuff.
• The early summer hand-wringing which accompanied the perceived lack of transfer activity at Easter Road as other clubs embarked on a signings frenzy has proved totally misplaced. Dylan McGeouch was undoubtedly a loss while everyone knew loan players such as Florian Kamberi, Jamie Maclaren, Scott Allan and Brandon Barker would all be returning to their parent clubs.
Nevertheless, the nucleus of the squad which has served Hibs so well over the past few years survives, thus manager Neil Lennon needed only to bring in quality rather than quantity. Stevie Mallan has already proved to be an astute addition and in persuading Kamberi and Maclaren to return the hard work behind the scenes is there for all to see.