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Hibs’ stunning first-half display leaves Ross County reeling

Hibernian v Rijeka – UEFA Europa Conference League – Third Qualifying Round – First Leg – Easter Road Stadium
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Hibernian blew Ross County away with three goals inside the opening 33 minutes to register a second successive Premiership victory.

The result was beyond doubt by the break after goals from Martin Boyle, Kyle Magennis and Christian Doidge gave the home side a commanding lead.

It was an ideal result and performance for the Leith side ahead of their crucial Europa Conference League second-leg clash in Croatia against HNK Rijeka, with the tie poised at 1-1 from last Thursday’s match at Easter Road.

Hibs head coach Jack Ross was even able to take off the likes of Boyle, Jamie Murphy and Paul Hanlon in the second half.

It will now be a long 13 days for Ross County before their next league outing against Rangers, although manager Malky Mackay will at least get the chance to work with his new-look squad on the training pitch.

Hibs came racing out of the blocks and scored three unanswered goals in just over half-an-hour.

Boyle went close inside two minutes when a low drive whistled past the far post, before Staggies striker Jordan White headed over from a Harry Paton delivery shortly afterwards.

Hibs took command of the game from then on, breaking the deadlock in the 22nd minute through Boyle.

The Australia international collected the ball in a central position 25 yards from goal and his drive spun off Jordan Tillson before looping over goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw.

Magennis doubled the home side’s lead four minutes later when he headed in Josh Doig’s cross from 12 yards.

Jamie Murphy then had an effort blocked before Doidge added a third. Paul McGinn whipped in a cross from the right and the Welshman powered a low header into the corner of the net.

Despite opening up a commanding lead in the first half Hibs kept coming, and after Murphy had an effort from distance saved, Doidge failed to find the target from close range.

It was no surprise County manager Mackay made changes at the break. Jack Burroughs and Harry Clarke were handed their debuts just two days after joining, with Paton and Coll Donaldson coming off.

However, Hibernian showed no signs of relenting in the pursuit of more goals. Murphy fired over before Doidge had an effort blocked by the legs of Regan Charles-Cook following good build-up play from Joe Newell.

There had not been much for County to get excited about as an attacking entity but at least new arrival Burroughs got a shot away that briefly had Hibs goalkeeper Matt Macey concerned – the ball fizzing by the top corner.