HIBERNIAN manager Lee Johnson said before his side’s trip to Andorra that a win over Inter d’Escaldes wasn’t a given. He wasn’t kidding.

The signage on the rocked wall on the far side of the Estadi Comunal d'Andorra la Vella gave it the air of a Scotrail station rather than the setting for a European qualifier, but it was here in the Andorran capital that Hibs’ Conference League campaign almost went completely off track.

A disjointed display led to an embarrassing 2-1 defeat for the Scots, who will now try to salvage the tie – and their pride – at Easter Road next week. But for substitute Joe Newell's late free-kick, it could have been an even greater task.

Here are the talking points from another poor day for a Scottish team in European competition.


On paper, the Hibs back four looked an experienced unit. On this sticky pitch, it was nothing less than a shambles.

Even before the comic-cut defending that allowed Inter to take the lead just 15 minutes in, the warning signs were flashing. Rocky Bushiri in particular was being caught out of position frequently, and David Marshall was forced into a good low save in the early stages as a direct result.

Indeed, while anyone not watching the game would have viewed the Andorran’s hitting the front as something of a shock, it would have been no surprise to anyone in attendance that they managed to breach such a disorganised visiting defence.

A mix-up between Josh Campbell and Lewis Stevenson saw Ander El Haddadi scarper in behind on the Hibs left, and with new club captain Paul Hanlon posted missing, it left right centre-back Bushiri to run across to the opposite side of the box.

He may as well not have bothered, allowing El Haddadi to size up a cross and pick out Adria Gallego standing in acres of space on the edge of the Hibs six-yarder. Marshall gamely kept out his first effort, but could do nothing as he swept home the rebound unchallenged.

Marshall looked every one of his 38 years though as El Haddadi latched onto a hoof up the park after the break and got a tame shot away that the keeper inexplicably spilled, allowing Jean-Luc Assoubre to tap into an empty net as he tried to clamber back to his feet.


The Hibs winger is a strange old player. There is a Scottish phrase that rather neatly sums him up; he’s all sugar, or all…well, you know the rest. And here, sadly, it was mostly the latter.

At times – particularly in the first half - he was undoubtedly Hibs’ liveliest player, getting on the ball and driving past opponents into dangerous areas. Once there though, his final ball was consistently poor, while some of his passing left teammates looking confused as to which of them exactly he was trying to find.

There was another example after the interval when he went on a mazy run to nowhere in particular before hoofing a diagonal ball to, well, no one in particular. Not that he was alone in doing that mind you, with long diagonals frequently flying out of play, but he squandered possession more frequently than most.

His day seemed to be summed up just after Inter’s second, when he dropped a shoulder to beat his man with ease, before promptly overhitting his cross beyond the back post.

But to his credit, he kept at it, and it was he who won the free-kick on the edge of the area that allowed Newell to smash home a potentially crucial consolation for Hibs in stoppage time.


A report that emerged from The Netherlands during this match suggested that Hibs were closing in on the signing of Roda striker Dylan Vente, and judging by the paucity of their attack here, his arrival can’t come soon enough.

It is early days of course for fellow summer arrival Adam Le Fondre, and the experienced forward will surely be a valuable addition to the squad. But at 36, can he really be relied upon to spearhead the Hibs attack throughout the season?

Here, he showed one or two little flashes of quality, but the one decent chance that did fall his way came at him too quickly, and he failed to control Lewis Miller’s cross in a great position.

With Elias Melkerson ineffective supporting from the right, it told you everything you needed to know about how thin on the ground reinforcements were when Cristian Doidge – who spent last season out on loan at Kilmarnock – was thrown on for him at the interval.

Martin Boyle will return soon of course, and his pace will be more than welcomed back, but Hibs need more in attack having never really looked like scoring here until that late set-piece.