Hibs produced arguably their most complete performance of the season so far as they romped to an easy win over Queen of the South.
Brian Graham put the Easter Road side ahead after just seven minutes before Queens defender Chris Higgins unwittingly turned a low shot from John McGinn into his own net. The Dumfries outfit had Lee Robinson to thank for ensuring they were only two down at the interval, the goalkeeper producing a string of impressive saves, most notably from Martin Boyle who later shot wide with the goal at his mercy.
But skipper David Gray added a third seven minutes into the second half and although Robinson continued to defy Hibs, Boyle finally got his goal to emphasiise the Capital side’s total dominance. Although, in truth, they could easily have scored twice as many.
Hibs got off to the perfect start, Andrew Shinnie’s free-kick fell for Darren McGregor who let loose a low shot which Queens midfielder Grant Anderson did well to stop at the back post.
However, he fell on the ball and was unable to complete his clearance allowing Graham to blast it high into the net.
Boyle should have made it two for Hibs in the 19th minute after being left with Robinson to beat thanks to Graham’s pass, but he hesitated momentarily and the Queens goalkeeper was able to pull off a great save, pushing his shot round the post.
Boyle went close again, winning the race to meet Paul Hanlon’s ball over the top, lofting his shot over the stranded Robinson only to see it glance off the post and go wide. Queens went close themselves when McGregor was penalised for a foul on Jake Pickard 22 yards out, Mark Millar’s shot came crashing off the left-hand post of Hibs goalkeeper Ofir Marciano.
Incredibly, Boyle had yet another gilt-edged chance, Shinnie making a superb run before supplying his team-mate who could only fire his shot straight at Robinson rather than direct it into either corner of the net.
But Hibs did eventually get a second, Shinnie’s initial corner cleared only as far as John McGinn who rifled a low shot across the face of Queens’ goal where it came off Higgins and into the net. Unfortunately for Hibs, Boyle couldn’t do the same when Lewis Stevenson found him with a low cross from the left flank. He was less than six yards out with the goal gaping but somehow managed to blast the ball wide.
The only surprise at half-time was that Hibs weren’t out of sight at the interval but they did move three ahead seven minutes after the restart, Gray meeting McGinn’s low corner at the near post to direct it beyond Robinson who continued to keep the Dumfries side just about afloat, racing from his line to yet again deny Boyle a goal.
Queens were gifted a chance totally against the run of play as Paul Hanlon’s slip gave Lyndon Dykes a free run-in on Marciano. He rounded the Hibs goalkeeper but as he did so McGregor got back to put him under sufficient pressure to ensure his next touch was heavy, the ball running over the bye-line much to tthe disgust of the Palmerston Park midfielder.
Boyle finally got his goal in the 65th minute, bursting through a tackle on the edge of Queens’ penalty area to hammer an unstoppable shot beyond Robinson, putting Hibs four ahead.