06 Jan Hibs a class apart
Hibernian midfielder John McGinn marked his return from injury with a goal as Hibernian beat Ladbrokes Championship promotion rivals Dundee United 3-0.
The 22-year-old has not featured since going under the knife in mid-November but showed no sign of rustiness as he sealed a dominant display by Neil Lennon’s men, who are now four points clear at the top of the table.
Hungry Hibs swarmed all over their nearest challengers throughout the 90 minutes and were in complete control as soon as Jason Cummings bagged the first of his two goals six minutes in.
Both teams included their new signings, with Chris Humphrey starting for Hibs while United introduced Danish hitman Thomas Mikkelsen off the bench just hours after completing a loan move from Odense.
The hosts started like they meant business and got the early breakthrough. Tangerines midfielder Willo Flood failed to get enough on his clearing header from Kris Commons’ corner, with the ball dropping to Humphrey 20 yards out. The former Motherwell winger – playing his first game since October – did not get hold of his shot properly but got a lucky break when it broke to Cummings, who steered past Cammy Bell.
The same pair combined to put Hibs two ahead after 26 minutes, but this time it was less accident and more by design.
Lewis Stevenson won a heavy tackle in midfielder and sent the ball flying wide to Humphrey. His immaculate first touch sent him darting to the byline where he squared for Cummings to tuck home again.
Martin Boyle’s pace down the left had bothered the visitors all night but he failed to convert after another run early in the second half when blazed over.
United boss Ray McKinnon threw on Mikkelsen with 15 minutes left but it was fellow substitute Tope Obadeyi who had the Taysiders’ best chance when he got his head to Toshney’s cross but Ross Laidlaw pulled off an impressive save.
There was time for Lennon to give McGinn a run out and he made a stunning impact. Collecting a short corner from Dylan McGeouch, he danced past Scott Fraser before sticking the ball through Bell’s legs for a classy third 10 minutes from time.