Ewan Henderson and Joe Newell at the double as Hibs get League Cup tilt back on track

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Ewan Henderson and Joe Newell at the double as Hibs get League Cup tilt back on track
Ewan Henderson and Joe Newell at the double as Hibs get League Cup tilt back on track

HIBERNIAN’S 4-1 victory over Bonnyrigg Rose got the Leith club’s Premier Sports Cup campaign back on track after losing out to Falkirk on Tuesday evening – but manager Lee Johnson was relieved to hear that two supporters who collapsed due to dehydration are on track for a full recovery.

Two separate incidents unfolded – one in the first half and one in the second – where supporters in the home end shouted to bring an unwell fan to the referee’s attention and bring play to a halt.

It was a sweltering day in Bonnyrigg and Johnson reckons that the intense heat was the main factor in the stoppages in play as he offered his sympathy to the stricken pair.

“It was stop-start but the most important thing was to make sure the two Bonnyrigg fans were okay,” Johnson said.

“That was a scary moment but I am told it was more dehydration and a lack of water.

“Our well wishes go to them and hopefully they have a swift recovery.”

Johnson didn’t have long to wait before his Hibs side took the lead in Midlothian. A throw-in near the Bonnyrigg box wasn’t dealt with by the hosts’ defence as a scuffed clearance fell invitingly into the path of Joe Newell, who needed no second invitation to open the scoring as he rifled the ball past goalkeeper Mark Weir on three minutes.

Hibs should have doubled their advantage around the 10-minute mark as Christian Doidge won a penalty for the visitors, only for Aiden McGeady – perhaps put off by Weir’s dancing on the line or the fans behind the goal – to fail to hit the target altogether from 12 yards.

Johnson’s men were seeing a lot of the ball and putting Bonnyrigg under pressure but couldn’t find a second goal to give themselves a little breathing room. On 40 minutes, play was stopped as the first supporter collapsed and when the contest got back under way, it did so with a bang.

Ewan Henderson made it 2-0 when he received the ball on the left wing, cutting inside and ghosting past a couple of Bonnyrigg players before coolly slamming home. Bonnyrigg’s response was near-instant, though: within 60 seconds they had reduced the deficit to a single goal. Kevin Smith latched onto a long ball forward and connected sweetly with the ball on the half-volley as the ball arched over David Marshall and into the back of the Hibs net.

The home players wouldn’t have long to celebrate, though, and Hibs’ two-goal lead was restored before half-time. Newell collected the ball on the edge of the area and showed terrific footwork to weave his way past two defenders before calmly passing the ball into the bottom corner from close range.

The tempo noticeably dropped when the two sets of players came out for the second half. The game had an exhibition feel about it now but there was still time for one last moment of magic. With the game approaching full-time, Henderson cleverly fashioned some space on the edge of the box and curled an unstoppable effort into the top-left corner to cap off the win.

“It was a professional performance from us in difficult conditions,” Johnson said. “The pitch was sticky, they weren't able to water it and it was warm.

"We went really strong early and that was the right thing to do. When McGeady missed the penalty, I thought, 'Oh know, what is coming?' but we saw it through professionally.

“Joe Newell was excellent, especially in the first half, and Hendo's two goals were good. There are a lot of positives.

“Scoring goals becomes a good habit. I understand with the level of opposition we are expected to score, but you have to beat what is in front of you.

“We scored four and could have five or six.”

Bonnyrigg manager Robbie Horn wasn’t quite as pleased with his team’s display, admitting that they did not reach the levels that he knows the recently promoted side can reach.

“The first half was frustrating as we are better than that,” he sighed. “Kev got us back in it with a great goal but then we lose one immediately.

“Hibs are a good team and have a lot of quality but we didn't defend well enough.”

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