There was to be Sunshine on Leith as Hibernian leapfrogged Edinburgh rivals Hearts to take top spot in the Cinch Premiership after a comfortable 3-0 victory over Ross County
Goals from Boyle, Magennis and Doidge all before halftime gave Jack Ross’ men all three points as they cruised to the top of the league in fine fashion.
The home side didn’t take long to get into their stride, threatening the County goal inside a minute. Martin Boyle drove down the right-wing. Skipping by Regan Charles Cook, he saw his effort flash narrowly wide of the post, lifting the 5,600 home supporters off their seat instantly.
In the 7th minute, Jordan White had the chance to put the visitors into a shock lead. The 6ft 4’ striker failed to capitalise on the end of Connor Randall’s cross, heading just over the stretching gloves of Matt Macey.
After that, it was all Hibernian. A number of chances went astray as the Staggies defenders put their bodies on the line, desperately defending the clean sheet.
All this hard work was extinguished in the 22nd minute as the Hibees deservedly took the lead. 25-yards out, Martin Boyle’s audacious effort cannoned off Coll Donaldson, looping over the outstretched arms of Ross Laidlaw.
Minutes later the lead was doubled for the home side. Re-admitted to the starting line-up amid transfer controversy, Josh Doig’s inch-perfect cross met Kyle Magennis unmarked, guiding a header expertly into the far corner.
Hibs were in dreamland soon after. Paul McGinn this time with a great cross found Doidge free just outside the six-yard box, heading home for the third of the afternoon.
Ten minutes after half time, County were lucky not to be down to ten men. Harry Clarke’s flying challenge on Jamie Murphy left the Hibs faithful in dismay as referee Grant Irvine chose to award only a yellow.
This was to be the highlight of the half as Hibs continued to dominate, holding the majority of possession to see out the win.
Next up it’s an important trip to Croatia for Jack Ross’ men in midweek as they look to overcome the challenge of Rijeka to progress in the Europa Conference League with the score tied at 1-1 from Thursday’s first leg.
County will embrace a week’s break as they will look to improve ahead of the visit of Rangers on the 21st of August.
Man of the match – Cristian Doidge
Leading from the front, the Hibs number nine was everywhere today, contributing with both a goal and the setup for Magennis’ goal. If Hibs are to replicate the successes of last season they will need the Welshman to be at the forefront of the action with Boyle and Murphy ready to strive alongside him.
Referee: Grant Irvine