Dundee Utd 3-0 Hibernian

By Clive LindsayBBC Scotland

Pat Fenlon's rebuilding of Hibernian will continue apace judging from this convincing win for Dundee United.

It took only three minutes for Johnny Russell to fire in an opener that exposed the defensive frailty so evident for Hibs last season.

United impressed again without needing to rise to heights reached as they gave Dinamo Moscow a midweek fright.

Gardyne, who arrived from Ross County, celebrates after scoring on his debut
Gardyne, who arrived from Ross County, celebrates after scoring on his debut

But Jon Daly's 74th-minute header and a late strike by substitue debutant Michael Gardyne secured the points.

United had been unchanged from the side that drew 2-2 with Dinamo, with manager Peter Houston resisting the temptation to rest anyone ahead of Thursday's second leg in Russia.

Ben Williams, Tim Clancy and Paul Cairney were all handed their competitive debuts in a Hibs side showing seven changes from the one that ended last season with a 5-1 hammering by Hearts in the Scottish Cup final.

It was almost a nightmare start for Williams when the goalkeeper clashed with Russell as the striker chased down a short back header from David Stephens.

Despite calls for a penalty echoing round the home stands, it looked like Russell had played Williams rather than the other way round and Euro 2012 referee Craig Thomson waved play on.

A superb crossfield ball from Shaun Dillon found Gary Mackay-Steven in space and, when the cross came into the box, a clever bit of head tennis from Daly and John Rankin gave Russell the chance to swivvel and fire low into the far corner from seven yards.

Hibs looked shaken and a nervous Williams let a Russell volley slip out of his arms and just over the crossbar.

Fenlon's side did work themselves into the game to threaten occasionally on the break but were also thankful for the lightning quick reflexes of Williams, who turned wide Daly's downward header from six yards before it nestled into the far corner.

Dillon was withdrawn, to be replaced with summer signing Brian McLean, at half time as United manager Houston played safe ahead of the Europa League trip to Russia with the defender feeling discomfort in his groin.

Russell failed to replicate his first-half finish when put clear by the mesmeric feet of Mackay-Steven shortly after the break.

Thereafter, United continued to dominate without worrying goalkeeper Williams and there was a stroke of luck when they did edge further in front as what looked like a mis-hit shot from Mackay-Steven flew across goal, where it was deflected in off the head of Daly.

A curling Leigh Griffiths free-kick almost caught out United goalkeeper Radosław Cierzniak as it grazed the crossbar, but summer signing Gardyne broke clear to increase United's lead in stoppage time.

As United head for Moscow with confidence, Hibs' performance only backed-up Fenlon's pre-match claim that he is not yet happy with the strength of his squad.

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