With the Easter Road side focused primarily on gaining promotion to the Premiership this season, Neil Lennon took the opportunity to rest several mainstays and give game time to those who haven’t featured as much as they would have liked.
In total, there were eight changes to the side that started the 4-0 win over Morton in the Championship eight days earlier. The presence of three Scottish Cup winners – Paul Hanlon, Dylan McGeouch and Fraser Fyvie – as well as Israeli international goalkeeper Ofir Marciano and free-scoring new striker Brian Graham, pictured, in the starting line-up meant there was never much likelihood of an upset in front of the BBC Alba television cameras.
However, the routine nature of the visitors’ victory owed plenty to the least experienced player in the side – 17-year-old debutant Fraser Murray. It was the academy midfielder who broke the deadlock in the 18th minute before further goals from Graham and Martin Boyle put the spirited Highland League side to the sword.
Lennon was thrilled with the way his team went about their business. “It was good for players like Jordon Forster, Dylan McGeouch, Fraser Fyvie and Martin Boyle to get game time,” he said. “These boys needed games, so it’s been a very worthwhile exercise. We were outstanding in the first half and their goalkeeper made some great saves. In the second half, Turriff didn’t come out as much and were a bit harder to break down, so we decided to go more direct towards Brian, but we got the third goal. All in all, it was a very good day.”
Hibs signalled their intent by hitting the crossbar twice in the opening three minutes through Alex Harris and Graham.
The breakthrough came when Boyle fed Murray with a pass into the box and the teenager kept his cool to slot a low angled shot beyond the inspired Turriff goalkeeper Kevin Main from 15 yards out. The visitors doubled their lead in the 22nd minute when Graham, who was a constant menace to the hosts, glanced home a close-range header from McGeouch’s inswinging cross from the left.
After a one-sided first half, Turriff started to come into the game after the break, with Marciano forced into his first and only notable test of the afternoon in the 51st minute when he had to act smartly to clutch a firm 20-yard shot from Turriff’s Polish striker, Andrzej Kleczkowski. The visitors eventually added to their lead in the 76th minute when Boyle shot home after being set up by Harris.
Turriff manager Ross Jack admitted his side were subjected to an intense test, but he was encouraged by the way they competed. “Neil’s a clever manager – he was never going to put out a team that he thought might get done,” said Jack. “The Hibs team was strong and experienced with some quality young boys mixed in.
“We got the runaround in the first half especially, but we sorted things out a bit more in the second half. Our goalkeeper was outstanding. It was a great lesson but we didn’t disgrace ourselves in any way.”
TURRIFF UNITED: Main, Herd, Bowden, Wood, Davidson, Nowosielski (Jamie Clarke 68), Cammy Booth,Young,Mackenzie, Kieczkowski (Gray 68), David Booth (Robbie Allan 75). Subs not used: Smith,Chalmers,Mair,Sherman.
HIBERNIAN: Marciano, Crane, Hanlon, Forster, Martin, Fyvie, Fraser Murray, Harris, McGeouch (Innes Murray 87), Boyle, Graham. Subs not used: Laidlaw, Smith,O ’Conner.