Hibee History: Mogga’s men overcome Latvians and summer downpour
Hibs made light of torrential summer rain to open up a commanding first-leg lead in the second round of the Intertoto Cup against their Latvian guests.
The Easter Road side rained in shots on goal almost as ferociously as the monsoon-like conditions that greeted the players when they ran out of the tunnel before kick-off but still found themselves with just a one-goal cushion at the break.
There was, however, never any doubt about who would come out on top, and a second-half performance which produced a further four goals from four different sources served only to emphasise that fact.
Hibs were just ten days into their pre-season schedule under manager Tony Mowbray, while Dinaburg had played 11 league games, although they sat sixth in the eight-team Latvian top division. The visitors packed their defence and Hibs were quick to pile forward, with full-backs Steven Whittaker and David Murphy prominent in attack. Striker Paul Dalglish had a great chance to open the scoring after 25 minutes but couldn’t lift his shot cleanly over goalkeeper Vadims Fjodorovs and a defender hacked the ball off the line. Dalglish was then presented with another great chance but headed a great Scott Brown delivery wide from close range. However, the Hibees soon made the breakthrough.
Kiwi forward Chris Killen found the back of the net seven minutes before the break when his header from a Michael Stewart cross was saved but he was quick enough to force the rebound into the net.
Brown flashed a powerful strike narrowly over the crossbar and Steven Fletcher went close with a header as the home side finished the first half in the ascendancy. Brown raced clear to finish within 60 seconds of the second half only to see his effort cancelled out by the linesman’s flag. But the midfielder was not to be denied and sprinted through to round the keeper and score four minutes later.
Defender Rob Jones, making his debut for Hibs, went close with a couple of headers, while Fletcher failed to convert a one-on-one with Fjodorovs. Hibs were beginning to look a little tired when a welcome third goal arrived on 72 minutes, thanks to substitute Ivan Sproule. The Northern Ireland internationalist shot a loose ball under Fjodorovs to give the home side a lift and soon set up Murphy for a fourth Hibs goal.
Sproule’s cross was missed by a clutch of defenders and the left-back had time to pick to his spot and blast home a powerful strike. Fletcher, who had fluffed another one-on-one, added a wonderful late free-kick from 20 yards after replacement Amadou Konte had missed two gilt-edged chances. Hibs secured a 3-0 away victory the following Saturday to move through to round three, where they lost out on away goals to Danish side Odense BK.
Hibs: S Brown, S Whittaker, D Murphy, C Hogg, R Jones, M Stewart (D Shiels, 60), S Brown, K Thomson, C Killen (A Konte, 76), P Dalglish (I Sproule, 46), S Fletcher. Subs not used:S Glass, O Konde, Z Malkowski, J Shields.
Dinaburg: V Fjodorovs, M Popovs, A Markovs, Chmykov, P Rizevski, E Burlakovs, A Zuromskis, A Kriklivijs, I Rodins, J Sokolovs, V Logins. Subs not used:Utinans, Digulovs, A Torjans, D Cebotarjovs, J Pucinkus.
Referee: Sinisa Zrnic.