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Martin Boyle brace helps Hibernian to victory over Motherwell
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Anthony Brown
Press Association
Martin Boyle’s double helped Hibs to a 3-0 win (Jane Barlow/PA)
Martin Boyle’s double helped Hibs to a 3-0 win (Jane Barlow/PA)

Managerless Hibernian restored some much-needed positivity by ensuring a winning Easter Road send-off for long-serving duo Paul Hanlon and Lewis Stevenson as Martin Boyle’s double helped them defeat Motherwell 3-0.

The Edinburgh club went into their penultimate match of a dispiriting campaign on the back of a tumultuous few days in which they lost 4-0 at home to Aberdeen, sacked boss Nick Montgomery, placed coach David Gray in interim charge for the fourth time in less than two-and-a-half years, and contentiously appointed Malky Mackay as their new sporting director.

Despite the ongoing sense of chaos around Hibs, this was a night when frustration and anger was temporarily cast aside in order to pay tribute to two trophy-winning greats of the club – and the team responded by posting their second win in the last seven games to leapfrog Motherwell into eighth place in the cinch Premiership.

Hanlon, 34, and 36-year-old Stevenson – who have accumulated more than 1,100 appearances in green and white between them – are set to leave the club to which they have devoted their entire careers following this weekend’s trip to Livingston.

There was no sunshine on Leith for the long-serving duo’s big farewell night, however, as a thick mist descended on Easter Road ahead of kick-off. “We had our days at Hampden” read a banner unveiled at the front of the East Stand in reference to the fact Stevenson had won the 2007 League Cup and the 2016 Scottish Cup at the national stadium, while Hanlon was part of the latter triumph.

The widespread desire to honour the departing duo meant there was little in the way of obvious hostility from the stands towards Mackay, who took his seat in the directors’ box just over 24 hours after news of his appointment sparked a backlash from various supporter groups in light of the well-documented inappropriate messages he was found to have sent while manager of Cardiff more than a decade ago.

Caretaker Gray made three changes to the team that started Montgomery’s final match on Sunday as Stevenson, Nectar Triantis and Josh Campbell replaced Jordan Obita, Nathan Moriah-Welsh and Emiliano Marcondes, while Motherwell were unchanged after their 5-1 victory away to Ross County.

The opening exchanges were low key, notable only for a lengthy delay after assistant referee Drew Kirkland sustained an injury and had to swap positions with fourth official Steven McLean.

The Easter Road side soon started to get themselves on top, however, and after Joe Newell had a volley from inside the box saved by goalkeeper Liam Kelly, Martin Boyle saw a ferocious shot from 20 yards out deflected.

They made the breakthrough in the 41st minute after Stephen O’Donnell was penalised for handball in the box. Newell offered the ball to Stevenson to try but the veteran was not interested in the personal glory and allowed Myziane Maolida to convert his 10th goal of the season from the penalty spot.

The Hibees doubled their lead at the start of first-half stoppage time with a well-worked goal when Newell’s pass released Maolida down the left and the on-loan Hertha Berlin forward’s cross was knocked home by Boyle from the edge of the six-yard box.

Boyle got his second of the evening in the 56th minute when Stevenson’s cross from the left fell to him inside the box and he took a touch before drilling a low shot beneath Kelly, paving the way for Hanlon and Stevenson to be giving a rousing Easter Road send-off as they were substituted together in stoppage time.


Scottish PremiershipHibernianMotherwell
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