Hibs put Motherwell to the sword ahead of Euro showdown

Hibernian striker Grant Holt nets his sides second goal of the afternoon at Easter Road. Picture: SNS
Hibernian striker Grant Holt nets his sides second goal of the afternoon at Easter Road. Picture: SNS
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It was only a pre-season outing but this encouraging 4-1 victory over Motherwell will certainly enhance the Hibernian players’ confidence ahead of Thursday’s Europa League visit of Brondby.

The home side fought back from losing an early goal through Marvin Johnson to seal a comfortable victory.

Jason Cummings levelled within seconds before Grant Holt and John McGinn put Hibs in the driving seat before half-time.

Substitute James Keatings added gloss to the performance with a fourth in the second half.

Hibs assistant manager Garry Parker oversaw the game from the dugout with Neil Lennon fulfilling pre-arranged BBC punditry commitments at the Euro 2016 final.

Barring any Wifi issues, however, Lennon watched the match unfold from his hotel room 700 miles away in Paris.

“I believe he was watching on Hibs TV, although I’ve not spoken to him yet,” admitted Parker.

“I’m sure he’ll call me later and we’ll speak about the game. That’s the third time I’ve taken the team in Neil’s absence and the last two times we lost, so when Motherwell scored I bet he was laughing in his hotel.

“We played very well and I don’t think anyone had a bad game. We went a goal down and to come back the way we did was very pleasing.

“This was a good test for us, we played well and hopefully we can continue that on Thursday.”

Hibs named what was close to be a strongest available starting XI, with the exception of trialist goalkeeper Alex Palmer.

New arrival Holt partnered Cummings up front in a two-man attack and the pair combined well to set up each for a goal during a dominant first half.

There were plenty of empty seats at Easter Road for this friendly as fans opted to watch Andy Murray in Wimbledon final action on the television but those who did attend were treated to a flurry of first-half goals.

Motherwell opened the scoring after three minutes when a Johnson free-kick from the corner of the box went in off the underside of the bar, leaving Palmer rooted to the spot.

But Cummings levelled seconds later with a tap-in after being found by Holt from Lewis Stevenson’s corner. Cummings then returned the favour in the 17th minute, squaring for former Norwich man Holt to score from six yards.

The impressive McGinn then got in on the act in the 23rd minute, heading an unstoppable effort high into the net from Stevenson’s delivery.

Substitute Keatings added a fourth in the 66th minute just moments after climbing off the bench, the former Hearts player finding the corner of the net with a clinical effort.