Boyle does dou­ble for Hibs as Stubbs’ re­vamp is spot on

The Herald - Herald Sport - - LADBROKES CHAMPIONSHIP -

THIS was a sat­is­fac­tory af­ter­noon all round for Hiber­nian and their head coach, Alan Stubbs. A con­vinc­ing 3-0 vic­tory over Al­loa, seven play­ers rested and much-needed game time handed to those that have been watch­ing on from the bench of late.

The sheer scale of Stubbs’ tin­ker­ing may have caused some alarm to the na­tives be­fore kick-off but this re­sult was never in doubt from the mo­ment Martin Boyle added the first of his dou­ble af­ter five min­utes.

Danny Carmichael, mak­ing only his third start, notched an­other five min­utes be­fore the break be­fore Boyle added gloss to the score­line in the 77th minute.

With his match mark­ing the start of an ex­haust­ing run of five games in 14 days, Stubbs’ ad­just­ments paid off in more ways than one.

“The most im­por­tant thing was get­ting the three points,” said Stubbs, whose side had just ne­go­ti­ated a se­quence of matches that had been both phys­i­cally and men­tally sap­ping.

“It makes it even sweeter when the lads who have come in make such a big con­tri­bu­tion to the game.

“We’ve got a lot of games so we have to utilise the squad. We’ve got to chop and change when we feel there is an op­por­tu­nity to do it.

“When you look back now, they were jus­ti­fied.”

Lewis Steven­son’s ab­sence was en­forced ow­ing to sus­pen­sion, while the oth­ers were given a well earned rest fol­low­ing a pe­riod that has seen Hibs reach the League Cup fi­nal at the ex­pense of St John­stone, and a Scot­tish Cup quar­ter-fi­nal fol­low­ing Tues­day’s grip­ping re­play vic­tory over city ri­vals Hearts.

Boyle’s early break­through en­sured Hibs were never re­ally in trou­ble but, had they been, Stubbs had plenty in re­serve; cap­tain David Gray, John McGinn, Ja­son Cum­mings, An­thony Stokes and Dar­ren McGre­gor among those that formed a for­mi­da­ble bench.

Some 8,765 watched this tele­vised en­counter and the ma­jor­ity were on their feet af­ter five min­utes to cel­e­brate Boyle’s ef­fort.

Boyle got to Liam Hen­der­son’s di­ag­o­nal pass in­side the box be­fore keeper Scott Gal­lacher and, af­ter knock­ing the ball to the side, the for­mer Dundee marks­man had the sim­ple task of tap­ping into the empty net.

Al­loa should have been level 60 sec­onds later but Steven Hether­ing­ton’s tame ef­fort just yards out was scooped into the arms of Mark Ox­ley.

The Hibs keeper was forced into ac­tion again in the 32nd minute, scram­bling across his goal to keep out Con­nor McMan­nus’ free-kick from an acute an­gle.

But Hibs dou­bled their lead five min­utes be­fore the break with a goal that was again all down to the as­sist.

Keat­ings some­how man­aged to thread a pass through a pha­lanx of Al­loa play­ers to find Carmichael in the box and the for­mer Queen of the South for­ward planted a close range shot into the net.

Al­loa were again un­lucky not to find the net when Michael Duffy’s dink over Ox­ley landed on top of the net ten min­utes af­ter the restart.

Chances came and went at the other end. Liam Fon­taine, Chris Dag­nall and Hen­der­son were among those that failed to con­vert from de­cent po­si­tions.

Just mo­ments af­ter Ox­ley pulled off a fine save to deny Mitch Meg­gin­son, Boyle added his se­cond in the 77th minute.

Dag­nall’s low drive from in­side the box was de­flected into the path of the for­ward at the back post and he made no mis­take from close range.

Hibs marks­man Keat­ings, who was one of those re­stored to the start­ing XI, added: “Chang­ing teams can go ei­ther way but the boys who have come in did a good job and we won the game.”

HIGH BALL: Al­loa’s Michael Duffy (left) bat­tles with Hiber­nian’s Liam Fon­taine

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