Change is afoot: What Hibs' 5-0 win over Clyde in season opener revealed about new era under Lee Johnson

Some had made it along to the pre-season run-outs in Portugal, others had watched those early matches online in the hope of gleaning some idea of how Lee Johnson’s rebuild was progressing but this was the first chance to weigh that up in a competitive fixture.

Over 6000 supporters turned out to see a new look Hibs take on League One side Clyde in the first of their Premier Sports Cup Group D games and they will have enjoyed a rampant first half showing.

The tempo dropped after the interval but even then there was positivity as they welcomed more debutants onto the park, including Aiden McGeady, who was treated to the warmest welcome.

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There are more to come, once visas are granted, while the money from Josh Doig’s imminent £3m switch to the Serie A will be reinvested. But, albeit against lower league opposition, there is already cause for optimism.

With scoring opportunities difficult to conjure up last term, the fact that they pieced together 16 shots, five of them on target and all five converted, indicates that change is afoot. Dominating possession will no longer be the priority, making it count will be.

There had been suggestions that Johnson would need to overhaul the striking department but, looking to prove their worth, Christian Doidge netted a hat-trick, and Elias Melkersen also got on the scoresheet, providing their gaffer plenty of food for thought.

In that opening 45 minutes there was a relentlessness to their advances, as they played on the front foot.

Starting with a back four, with two tucked in front of them, the men ahead of them had the platform to build attack after attack, pressing forward at will. There they found Doidge in determined mood.

Christian Doidge celebrates after sealing his hat-trick in the 5-0 win over Clyde. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)Christian Doidge celebrates after sealing his hat-trick in the 5-0 win over Clyde. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Christian Doidge celebrates after sealing his hat-trick in the 5-0 win over Clyde. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

The Welshman was warned that he may not have a pivotal role to play in the revamped Hibs side but he is not ready to throw in the towel and, against Clyde, he got the perfect start to his competitive campaign.

Opening the scoring in the 16th minute, there will be no bonus points for artistic merit but it was effective as he almost fell onto the ball to bundle over a Melkersen cross.

The Norwegian grabbed one for himself in the 22nd minute, extricating the ball from feet inside the box before finding the space and composure to slot it low past Neil Parry in the visitors’ goal.

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There was a quick double from Doidge in the 28th and 29th minutes to wrap up his hat-trick and imbue him with those most precious of commodities when it comes to strikers - confidence and momentum.

The first of them was the easiest on the eye as he was slipped through and lifted the ball over the approaching keeper. His 13-minute hat-trick was wrapped up soon after as he converted Chris Cadden’s cross at the second time of asking.

Josh Campbell made it five just before half-time with his deflected effort.

The biggest challenge for Johnson’s men at that point was seeing if they could maintain their relentless press while also reshuffling the pack to give as many players as possible game time.

They couldn’t but there was plenty for the new boss to work with as they edge closer to the commencement of top tier football.



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