HIBERNIAN avoided the ignominy of a European exit at the hands of Andorran minnows Inter d’Escaldes in the second leg of their UEFA Conference League qualifier at Easter Road tonight – and eased the pressure on their manager Lee Johnson in the process.

Johnson got involved in a controversial exchange with angry Hibs supporters in the wake of the embarrassing 2-1 loss to the Primera Divisio outfit away last week and was under intense scrutiny heading in to the rematch.

However,  his charges, buoyed greatly by the comeback from injury of Martin Boyle after a lengthy lay-off, produced a vastly improved performance and eased to a comfortable 6-1 triumph and a 7-3 aggregate victory overall.  

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Boyle savoured a joyous return to action; the Australian internationalist netted twice in the opening 21 minutes to put Hibs in control and he received a deserved ovation from the crowd when he was replaced by Jordan Obita.

Christian Doidge added another before half-time and in the second-half Josh Campbell bagged a brace and Elie Youan also scored. Angel de la Torre claimed a consolation goal for the visitors late on. Here are five talking points from the one-sided encounter.  


Hopes of a Hibs comeback were lifted in Leith before kick-off when both Boyle and Will Fish were named in the starting line-up.

The former had been on the bench in Estadi Communal d’Andorra la Vella seven days ago – but Johnson admitted beforehand that his role would be that of a cheerleader and not an impact substitute.

The Australian internationalist, though, made his first appearance for the capital club since October in the pre-season friendly against Blackpool away on Saturday and did not suffer any adverse reaction to the workout.

But was the 30-year-old forward ready to feature in such an important competitive fixture? It was clearly a risk worth taking for his manager. He deployed his star man on the right of a front three and was not disappointed that he did so.

There was a huge roar from the crowd when Boyle’s name was read out by the stadium announcer before kick-off? And no wonder. Hibs are a different side with him on the field and pose far more of a threat going forward.

It took just under 10 minutes for  Boyle to break the deadlock. He pounced after Inter keeper Adria Munoz failed to deal with a Joe Newell delivery into his area. He had the simplest of tasks to slot into an empty net and level the double header on aggregate.

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It was his first goal since he netted a penalty against St Mirren 10 months ago - the game he suffered his serious knee injury in – and was a sweet moment for him.

He did not have to wait long to claim his second. He got on the end of another Newell cross and headed beyond Munoz soon after. The outing could not have gone any better for him.  


Nothing is ever simple with Hibs. David Marshall suffered a hamstring injury in the warm-up and had to be replaced by new recruit Jojo Wollacott. But the Ghanian internationalist lasted less than 20 minutes. He injured his leg clearing to safety and hobbled off.

Max Boruc, the cousin of former Celtic and Poland goalkeeper Artur, then came on to make his debut for Hibs too.

The 20-year-old prospect, who has had spells with Husqvarna in Sweden as well as at Stoke City and West Brom in England, had expected to feature for the development side this term. Indeed, he had helped them to a Challenge Cup win over Formartine after a penalty shoot-out at Meadowbank last night.

Boruc was clearly annoyed when he allowed Torres to beat him in the closing stages. But the ex-Slask Wroclaw youngster will have benefitted hugely from being involved in the European tie and will be eager for more first team action.

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That could come against St Mirren in the Premiership at Easter Road on Sunday if Marshall and Wollacott fail to recover.  


The Hibs manager was heavily criticised for gesticulating towards the Easter Road club’s supporters in the wake of their embarrassing loss to Inter last week and he was feeling a little heat going into the rematch.

But the only hand gestures he made to fans last night was when he applauded them for their unstinting backing following the final whistle.

The Englishman silenced his critics on more than one occasion last season. His team always seems to rise to the occasion when it matters most. However, they must start to perform far more consistently in the months ahead.

Hibs will certainly have to be on top of their game for all 180 minutes against a far superior rival than Inter if they want to go through to the play-off round never mind the group stages.


Having spent last season on loan at Kilmarnock, Doidge has much to prove at Easter Road this season. But he certainly gave Johnson food for thought this evening. He did well to put Hibs 3-0 ahead in the first -half and was unfortunate to have another strike ruled offside in the second.

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There have been several enquiries about the availability of the 30-year-old Welshman, who is out of contract at the end of the season, this summer. But he looks to have much to offer Hibs on the evidence of his showing, albeit against limited opponents, tonight.


Easter Road was far from full for the visit of Inter d’Escaldes despite the predicament that Hibs were in after the first leg. But the G7 Ultras who are stationed behind the goal in the Famous Five Stand sang from kick-off to the final whistle regardless. They played a big part in an emphatic win and a much-needed result.