Story of Hibs 0 Dundee United 3: How Tam Courts' side moved up to third after adding goals to Premiership's best defensive record

Humble pie has rarely tasted as sweet as the portion being lapped up by Dundee United supporters right now after their side shot into the cinch Premiership top three with a resounding victory over Hibs at Easter Road.

Dundee United's Ryan Edwards celebrates his goal with Nicky Clark in the 3-0 win over Hibs at Easter Road. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Dundee United's Ryan Edwards celebrates his goal with Nicky Clark in the 3-0 win over Hibs at Easter Road. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

Eyebrows were raised and noses turned up when Tam Courts - whose only prior experience in the dugout came with Kelty Hearts in the junior ranks - was handed the reins in the summer following the departure of Micky Mellon.

He was already winning over the fanbase with a start to the season that had United sitting comfortably in the top half of the table, having become the first side in 18 months to defeat Rangers in the league.

The concern perhaps surrounded the lack of goals with only five scored in eight matches prior to the trip to Hibs.

But a 3-0 win at one of the division's toughest venues, and the manner of it, showed United are on the right track under Courts.

His side have the best defensive record in the division with just five conceded – two fewer than the league leaders – and while this was a sobering afternoon for Hibs, United are emerging as genuine European contenders.

Hibs handed England Under 20 captain Nathan Wood a debut in defence as the on-loan Middlesbrough centre-back replaced the suspended Ryan Porteous.

But it was a Scottish youngster who caught the eye with Declan Glass impressing on his first start for United in 21 months after suffering an ACL injury while on loan at Partick Thistle in 2020.

The 21-year-old was bright and industrious in his hour on the park and will now look to kick on and fulfil his potential as one of the country's highly-rated young prospects.

United fans were given only a brief glimpse of new signing Maxime Biamou as the former Coventry striker replaced opening goalscorer Nicky Clark in the 80th minute at a time when the match was already won.

Clark had broken the deadlock just seconds before half-time and while it came after at the end of a first half where neither side offered much threat, it was United who had looked far the more likely.

Matt Macey had made saves from Ilmari Niskanen and Glass from 20 yards but had no chance with Clark's curling effort from similar distance which sent United into the interval on a high.

That carried into the start of the second half and the visitors doubled their lead seven minutes after the restart when a cross from Scott McMann was thumped home by the head of Ryan Edwards.

The defender made a vital contribution in the opposite box moments later, diverting Jamie Murphy's goalbound blast over the bar, in what was a rare attempt on a day to forget for Hibs.

United wrapped up the win with 16 minutes left as they cut through the home defence in a series of triangles before Niskanen squared for Kieran Freeman to finish off.

Hibs' misery was compounded in the closing stages when Kevin Nisbet - who barely touched the ball all afternoon - was denied a consolation goal when he saw his effort touched onto the post by the fingertips of Benjamin Siegrist.

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