Hibees maintain 100 per cent start in the Betfred Cup.
Hibernian sit top of Group B after club captain David Gray led by example to see off dogged Forfar Athletic.
The League One Loons gave a great account of themselves, but The Hibees’ perseverance paid off with just three minutes remaining.
An inch-perfect delivery from Stevie Mallan found the most famous forehead in Scottish football, with Gray rising above all others in a crowded box to head home.
Jack Ross went into the game with his options severely restricted through a combination of international call-ups and injuries.
He was without Alex Gogic, Ofir Marciano, Paul Hanlon, Paul McGinn, Ryan Porteous – who are all away representing their respective countries.
In addition, Drey Wright, Jamie Murphy, Joe Newell, Lewis Stevenson and Scott Allan were ruled out through injury – while Josh Doig is still in isolation following his run-out for Scotland’s Under-19s in a game called short because of a positive Covid-19 test.
There were only four substitutes stripped for action, with the majority of our Development Squad out on loan and those who have just agreed professional contracts not part of the testing regime.
It did create an opportunity for new signing Kyle Magennis and Academy graduate Ryan Shanley to make their first starts for the club.
Jamie Gullan – keen to build on the momentum of a goal and sparkling display on Saturday against Cove Rangers – turned in the first real effort of note but his shot was blocked.
A deep Magennis cross was headed wide by Sean Mackie on nine minutes as Hibs upped the ante.
There was a lengthy delay in play on the 34-minute mark as Forfar’s Darren Whyte received extensive treatment from both clubs’ medical teams for what looked like a nasty injury.
He was eventually replaced by Archie Thomas and we hope Whyte won’t be on the sidelines for too long.
Ross shuffled the pack on 61 minutes, with the introduction of Kevin Nisbet and Martin Boyle for Shanley and Magennis.
Summer signing Nisbet – on a hot streak with seven goals to his name already this season – almost made an instant impact with a header that crashed back off the bar.
Christian Doidge had a header saved by keeper Marc McCallum, while there were no takers for a dangerous cross from Boyle.
Just as thoughts were perhaps turning to a penalty shoot-out, up stepped the skipper to take charge.
Stevie kept his cool on the set-piece, delivering the perfect cross for Gray to attack and the dejected McCallum had no chance.
It was tough on the hosts but The Hibees had been in the ascendancy and will hope to take that form into Saturday’s Premiership return against Ross County.