Hibernian 3 Montrose 0
Montrose Football Club were dispatched out of the League Cup at the first round stage by Championship side Hibernian in front of 5,933 spectators at Easter Road on Saturday but they were far from disgraced.
On their previous two visits to Edinburgh Paul Hegarty’s side had lost 5 – 1 in the Scottish Cup and 9 – 0 in the League Cup but there was never any danger of this happening in what was a very disciplined performance by the away side.
They were never going to be able to create much but what they did do was deny the home side space to play in and it frustrated Alan Stubbs side for much of the match. In the end they had to bring on star man Scott Allan to finally beak the visitors backline. It was an excellent performance considering that three of the Montrose line up had been playing junior football last season.
Paul Hegarty made three changes from the side that had lost narrowly to neighbours Forfar Athletic in the Petrofac Cup. With St Johnstone not wanting Jordan Millar cup tied he was replaced by Ross Salmon who had been signed 48 hours prior to the match and he got a quick fire debut. Ross Campbell and Graham Webster also returned to replace Terry Masson and Dale Reid.
Montrose lined up with Salmon in goal with Ferguson and Steeves in the full back positions. Jordan Reoch and Matty Allan teamed up in central defence. Johnston was wide left with Webster on the left. New captain Paul Watson and McCord were in the middle of the park with Fraser playing off loan striker Campbell.
Ryan Kenneth made his first appearance on the Montrose bench were he was joined by Masson, Declan Milne, Reid, Kyle McLeod, Kyle Willox and Jim Butter who was again back up keeper.
There was no Martin Boyle in the home line up as he was carrying over a suspension from his Dundee days as well as an injured knee.
Hibernian got the match underway on a glorious afternoon for football.
In the second minute the Gable Endies had a great shout for penalty kick. Fraser headed the ball onto his strike partner Ross Campbell who was through on goal with only keeper Mark Oxley to beat; he came racing from his goal and appeared to take Campbell out of the game. The crowd waited in baited breathe but referee John Beaton, signalled that the keeper had got the ball and play continued. It was a let off for the home side and they knew it.
Montrose continued to press and Graham Webster went on a good surging run which won Montrose a throw in.
In the next minute Jason Cummings tried to get a shot for Hibernian but Jordan Reoch got in a saving tackle.
Fraser Fyvie was next to have a go for the home side but his shot was blocked and spun back to debutant Salmon in the Montrose goal.
Alex Harris linked up with Cummings but his low effort from the edge of the box went well wide of the Montrose goal.
The Gable Endies were still trying to find ways past the solid home back line and McCord, Campbell and Fraser linked well down the left to win a throw in. Steeves throw in found Webster on the left but his cross was too strong for Johnston at the far post.
In the 18th minute a great pass from the middle of the park from Watson split the home defence and found Fraser whose low effort was blocked with Montrose claiming hand ball.
Liam Fontaine was a dangerman for the home side and he strode out of defence only to see his low drive go well wide of Salmon’s left hand post.
Seconds later Cummings was allowed to turn at the edge of the box and he fired high and inches wide as the Montrose goal led a charmed life.
Hibernian forward Cummings won a corner kick off Matty Allan but from Sam Stanton’s in swinger Liam Fontaine headed over the crossbar.
Montrose captain Paul Watson picked up Montrose’s first yellow card of the season for a challenge on Marvin Bartley in the 25th minute. It appeared soft but referee Beaton was having none of it.
Ross Salmon kept Montrose in the match three minutes later when he pushed an effort from Jason Cummings around the post.
After soaking up all the pressure Hibernian opened the scoring in the 32nd minute. The ball bounced around the box from a Harris cross and SCOTT MARTIN was able to turn and fire past Salmon for the opening goal.
Two minutes later Hibernian’s Paul Hanlon was booked for a foul on Gary Fraser who required treatment before he could continue.
The last action of a disciplined first half by Montrose came when Webster blocked a cross from Hibernian captain Gray. Alex Harris took the corner kick only for Gray to head wide.
Hibernian won an early corner kick when Harris played the ball off Steeves. Stanton took the corner kick only for Liam Fontaine to power a header over the crossbar.
In the 52nd minute Jason Cummings went on a run which ended with Hibs top goalscorer from last season blast the ball well wide of goal.
Sixty seconds later it was Alex Harris’s turn to test the away defence it kept running at them only to curl the ball well over the crossbar.
In the 54th minute Gary Fraser latched onto a Steeves through ball for Montrose but he was flagged offside.
Three minutes later Montrose created their first chance of the second half. Ferguson was fouled by Harris giving Montrose a free kick in the centre circle. Ross McCord’s free kick was headed out by the home defence and Watson’s shot was blocked for a corner kick. McCord’s corner kick went into the box only to miss the head of Watson.
With an hour gone Montrose made their first change of the afternoon with Dale Reid coming on to replace Ross Campbell.
Five minutes later the home side brought on the much talked about Scott Allan for Marvin Bartley and he was to play a major part in the closing twenty minutes of the game.
Hibernian had a great chance to score a second goal in the 69th minute. A Scott Allan pass sent Sam Stanton clear inside the box but Ross Salmon tipped his effort around the post.
In the 71st minute Montrose had a rare attack at goals as the legs were being to tire. Salmon’s goal kick was gathered by Graham Webster he cut inside his marker and from the edge of the box fired in a shot which keeper Oxley saved at his near post.
Seconds later and it was all over from a hard working Montrose. Ranger’s target SCOTT ALLAN cut inside his marker in the box and turned and fired into the bottom corner for a killer second goal.
Two minutes later Hibernian brought on Oli Shaw for his debut in place of Alex Harris.
Scott Allan was starting to cause Montrose more problems and with fifteen minutes remaining his run took him past a few away defenders before he fired well over the crossbar.
In the 80th minute Hibernian scored again. A cross from Allan was headed down by Fontaine and JASON CUMMINGS was able to turn inside the box and fire a low effort past Salmon.
Three minutes later Paul Hegarty made a second change to his line up with Declan Milne replacing McCord. Milne went wide right with Johnston moving into the middle.
Hibs made a final switch seconds alter with Jordan Sinclair coming on in place of Stanton.
At full time the Montrose players went over to acknowledge their noisy band of supporters while Hibs coach Alan Stubbs took the time to shake the hands of each Montrose player as the left the field of play far from disgraced.