Hibs Under-18s continued their impressive form in the CAS Under-18 Elite Youth League with a comprehensive dismantling of Hamilton Accies at the Hibernian Training Centre on Friday night.
With Ethan Laidlaw on international duty with Scotland Under-17s and Jacob Blaney still sidelined through injury, Gareth Evans and Eddie May shuffled their pack.
Robbie Hamilton returned to the midfield after illness while Malek Zaid and Freddie Wylie started on the right and left respectively. Josh McCulloch continued at right-back with Kanayo Megwa partnering Mack Weir at the heart of defence in Blaney’s absence.
Hibs didn’t take long to get going, with McCulloch winning a penalty after being brought down following a trademark lung-busting run down the right flank. Josh O’Connor converted from 12 yards with fewer than ten minutes on the clock to give the hosts a perfect start.
The wee Hibees made it two when Connor Young blocked a free kick on the half-way line, with O’Connor pouncing on the loose ball and playing a fine pass to Wylie who slotted home for the second around ten minutes from half-time.
Hibs were not as slick as they have been in previous matches but were doing the damage in the final third. O’Connor made it three shortly after the restart, controlling a ball on the edge before curling a right-footed effort into the bottom corner.
Young added to the fourth moments later, anticipating a mistake from the Accies defence 30 yards from goal and bearing down on goal before finding the net.
The 17-year-old doubled his personal tally with a goal not dissimilar to his first. With the visitors failing to deal with a long ball he latched onto it before finishing from the edge of the penalty area.
O’Connor and Young combined for the sixth goal, the former scampering down the left flank before a drilled pass into the area picked out his strike partner who completed his hat-trick.
The 18s have won five of their six league matches, drawing the other, and have scored 20 goals and conceded just two. They currently lie second in the table, four points behind leaders Dundee United but with three games in hand.
In the SFA Youth Cup they have been drawn to face Hutchison Vale in the third round on November 26.
Hibs: Johnson; McCulloch, Megwa, Weir, O MacIntyre; Zaid, Aiken, Hamilton, Wylie; Young, O’Connor.
By Patrick McPartlin at Edinburgh Evening News.
Photo: Maurice Dougan