Josh O'Connor in action

A winning start for our young Hibees

31 August 2021

Hibs Under-18s got their league campaign off to a winning start with a convincing win against their Aberdeen counterparts at the Hibernian Training Centre on Friday (27 August) night.

It was a young Hibs side that took to the pitch at East Mains with 15-year-old Jacob MacIntyre, fresh from his experience with Scotland Under-16s, named in the starting line-up.

Gareth Evans and Eddie May's side scored 29 goals in 12 games last term and they took fewer than ten minutes to get the ball rolling in this match, Josh O’Connor finishing beyond Blessing Oluyemi in the Aberdeen goal after good work from Ethan Laidlaw on the left flank.

The visitors failed to really test Josh Blair in the Hibs goal in the opening exchanges but defended well as they grew into the game.

On 25 minutes, Ryan Duncan – who scored a 35-yard free-kick against Hibs at East Mains in April – pulled the Dons level with a similar effort from a set-piece albeit from closer in.

The teams went in level at the break but it felt like there were more goals to come.

Mack Weir entered the fray at half-time replacing MacIntyre as the centre-half stepped up his return from injury and Hibs started the second half on the front foot.

O’Connor in particular was proving a handful for the Dons defence supported by Laidlaw, Murray Aiken, and the impressive Freddie Wylie who caught the eye on the right flank.

The latter had a strong claim for a penalty waved away by referee Vikki Allan after it looked like he was bundled over in the area but O’Connor grabbed his and Hibs’ second not long after the break, finishing past Oluyemi from the left side of the box.

Laidlaw extended Hibs’ lead with a smart finish from a tight angle after the hour mark before making way for another Scotland Under-16 cap in Rudi Molotnikov, who hit the post with one effort and forced Oluyemi into a spectacular save with a fierce drive in a bright appearance off the bench.

Ben Reilly and Malek Zaid were given the last few minutes with the points safe, coming on for Wylie and O'Connor.

Jacob Blaney added a fourth near the end, slamming home from close range after Robbie Hamilton’s free kick wasn’t dealt with by the Aberdeen defence.

The Under-18s are next in action on Friday night when they travel to face Hamilton Accies.

Hibs: Josh Blair, Gregor Fordyce, Jacob Blaney, Josh McCulloch, Oscar MacIntyre; Robbie Hamilton, Murray Aiken; Freddie Wylie, Jacob MacIntyre, Ethan Laidlaw; Josh O'Connor.

Subs: Freddie Owens (GK), Mack Weir, Ben Reilly, Malek Zaid, Rudi Molotnikov.

By Patrick McPartlin at Edinburgh Evening News.

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