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Hibs hit six to all but seal Europa League progress

By July 12, 2018No Comments

Florian Kamberi hit a hat-trick as Hibernian kicked off their Europa League qualifying campaign with an emphatic 6-1 win over NSI Runavik.

Neil Lennon’s side all but confirmed their place in the second round of qualifying after thrashing the side from the Faroe Islands in their first-leg clash at Easter Road.

The visitors finished with 10 men, but the damage was done in the first half as Kamberi with two, Stevie Mallan and Oli Shaw all struck.

Mallan added a second after the break, capping an impressive midfield performance on his competitive debut after arriving from Barnsley, while Kamberi completed his treble in his first game since joining on a permanent deal in June.

The arrival and performance of Mallan in midfield took on an added significance given John McGinn was left out of the matchday squad.

The Scotland international has been subject to interest from Celtic throughout the transfer window and, though his future remains uncertain, it was a dead leg that kept him out of the game.

With Dylan McGeouch and Scott Allan also departing the club this summer, Lennon was forced to field a new-look midfield.

Vykintas Slivka took his chance early on, slipping in a cute ball for Kamberi, who was barged over inside the area. He picked himself up to open the scoring from the penalty spot in the second minute.

The striker made it two by getting a toe to Martin Boyle’s wicked ball across the six-yard box before Shaw fired in an excellent third from outside the box after 28 minutes.

The quick-fire double seemed to knock the stuffing out of the visitors and a tough job was made harder when Einar Trondargjogv – who was guilty of giving away the penalty – flew in recklessly on Boyle and was shown a straight red just after the half-hour mark.

Mallan soon got in on the act courtesy of a poor piece of goalkeeping from Tordur Thomsen, who let a speculative effort squirm under his body from range, before Kamberi netted his third of the night after finishing off a nice midfield move.

Petur Knudsen pulled one back to make it 5-1 after seeing his free-kick wrong-foot another debutant, Adam Bogdan, and find the corner of the goal, but the players knew it was nothing more than a consolation.

Mallan curled in a brilliant free-kick in the closing stages to give Hibs a five-goal lead that puts them in pole position to set up a second-round tie against Greek side Asteras Tripolis ahead of the second leg next week.