hibs hit back at Tannadice to defeat Ian McCall’s new-look Dundee United on the opening day of the Scottish Premier League season.
McCall had brought in nine new recruits to United over the summer, with Trinidad and Tobago international striker Collin Samuel joining from Falkirk where McCall had managed the season before while Derek McInnes signed on a free transfer from West Bromwich Albion.
McCall handed six of his new players their competitive debuts for the visit of the Hibees with McInnes joining Mark Kerr and Barry Robson in midfield. Samuel was in attack and former Partick Thistle pair Scott Paterson and Alan Archibald in defence. The visitors, bossed by Bobby Williamson, also included two of their summer arrivals, Stephen Glass and Daniel Andersson.
Former West Brom midfielder McInnes, who was made club captain on his arrival, was instrumental early on as United dominated possession.
The hosts should have taken the lead after 25 minutes when Samuel found himself all alone in the box ten yards from goal. However, the striker shot weakly at goalkeeper Andersson’s legs.
Samuel went close again ten minutes later, breaking clear before drawing the goalkeeper, but his lob from a difficult angle drifted across the face of the goal. United wasted another golden opportunity when Charlie Miller ran on to an excellent ball from Kerr but was unable to connect, despite being unmarked six yards from goal. Samuel made amends for his first-half misses by scoring with his first touch of the ball after the restart.
Billy Dodds dispossessed Mathias Doumbe on the left touchline after the Hibs player mis-hit a clearance and the former Rangers striker raced into the penalty area before playing a ball through the six-yard box for his strike partner, who sent it past Andersson from four yards.
Danny Griffin then forced Andersson into a diving save from a 30-yard free-kick. But Hibs equalised against the run of play through Derek Riordan after 74 minutes, when he stabbed home a cross from Tam McManus that took a deflection and looped over goalkeeper Paul Gallacher.
McManus then applied the killer finish with five minutes remaining from the spot as United were left to rue a series of chances that would have ensured victory. To make matters worse for the home side, Robson was dismissed for conceding the penalty after pulling down Ian Murray.
Dundee United: P Gallacher, S Paterson, D Griffin, A Archibald, B Robson (s/o, 87), M Kerr, D McInnes, C Miller (S Duff, 71), J Paterson (G Bollan, 79), B Dodds (J McIntyre, 76), C Samuel. Subs not used: T Bullock, J Scotland.
Hibs: D Andersson, A Orman, M Doumbe, G Smith, Y Zambernardi, I Murray, G Brebner, J Wiss, S Glass (T McManus, 70), D Riordan, S Brown (S Dobbie, 85). Subs not used: S Thomson, S Whittaker, M Hyldgaard.
Referee: Kenny Clark.