The curtain came down on the 2021/22 campaign this afternoon with a comfortable 4-0 victory over St Johnstone at Easter Road.
The victory - our biggest win of the season – came as we signed off in style following an impressive performance.
Paul McGinn opened the scoring just before half-time before man of the match, James Scott, notched a second half hat-trick.
On a memorable afternoon youngsters Jacob Blaney, Murray Aiken, Robbie Hamilton, Oscar MacIntyre and Allan Delferriere all made their senior debuts.
Caretaker Manager David Gray made two changes to the starting line-up ahead of our final home fixture of the season.
Darren McGregor and Elias Melkersen started at the expense of Rocky Bushiri and Josh Campbell – both dropping to the bench.
We had four 17-year-olds joining them on the bench. Blaney, Aiken, Hamilton and MacIntyre all featured in the Club’s draw with Hearts to go top of youth league.
McGregor was given the honour of leading the boys out this afternoon as the sun shone on Leith once more.
St Johnstone started the brighter of the two teams with Cammy MacPherson and Nadir Ciftci both having efforts blocked in the opening moments before Jacob Butterfield saw his shot from distance comfortably held by Matt Macey.
We were soon on the offensive ourselves and in the 9th minute McGregor drew a save from Elliot Parish with a powerful header following Joe Newell’s corner kick.
Former Hibee Glenn Middleton looked to get on the scoresheet against his former side with an arching shot from distance that Macey had to beat away for his first meaningful save of the day.
Perhaps because there was little at stake this afternoon, today’s contest was more open that we’ve come to expect when St Johnstone and ourselves meet.
The chances were coming thick and fast at both ends of the park. Josh Doig went close to breaking the deadlock with a near post volley from Newell’s excellent delivery, only to divert the ball just wide of goal.
St Johnstone had a big opportunity on the counterattack five minutes before the interval when Shaun Rooney broke away and only Lewis Stevenson stood between him and a clear run at goal.
The veteran defender used all his experience to hold off the Saints’ talisman before making a timely block that allowed Ryan Porteous to clear the danger.
It would prove to be a big moment in the match as we broke the deadlock just moments later when McGinn got the final touch on Porteous’ acrobatic effort to score.
Whilst the first half had been largely an even affair, the second half was more one-sided as we took control of the midfield.
It took just three second half minutes for us to double our lead. McGinn’s floated cross appeared to fortuitously strike Scott’s thigh and Parish was left helpless.
On 56 minutes good build-up play resulted in Scott laying the ball off to Doig who came within a whisker of scoring with an angled drive.
Four minutes later it was 3-0. Harry Clarke fed the ball to Newell and his low cross was thumped beyond Parish from close range by Scott for his second of the afternoon.
Gray took the opportunity to hand some youngsters their debuts as Blaney, Aiken, Hamilton, MacIntyre and Delferriere all came on in the closing stages.
We should have scored a fourth with 18 minutes remaining when Parish could not hold onto Scott’s angled drive and Melkersen stabbed the ball wide of goal when it seemed easier to score.
It took a brave save from Macey to thwart Middleton and deny St Johnstone a consolation effort soon after as the visitors made a rare foray forward.
With three minutes remaining we added a fourth goal as Scott completed his hat-trick. Doig sent a hanging cross towards the back post and Scott’s looping header back across goal left Parish stranded as it dropped into the net.
At the final whistle the players showed their appreciation with a lap of honour as the curtain came down on another campaign.
Hibernian: Macey, Clarke (Aiken 66’), Doig, Porteous (MacIntyre 76’), McGinn (Delferriere 85’), Newell, Stevenson, McGregor, Scott, Melkersen (Hamilton 75’), Henderson (Blaney 85’). Substitutes not used: Dabrowski, Jasper, Campbell, Bushiri.
St Johnstone: Parish, McCart, Cleary, Middleton, Gilmore, Mahon (O’Halloran 56’), Macpherson, Rooney (Gordon 75’), Ciftci, Sang, Butterfield (Craig 75’). Substitutes not used: Sinclair, Brown, Hendry, Hallberg.
Referee: David Dickinson.