In front of a sell-out crowd, the Leith side ultimately failed to bridge the massive financial gulf between the clubs and, trailing 5-0 they will surely now bow out of European action when the final whistle sounds at Villa Park next week.
It is the kind of scoreline that had the away fans asking if they could play Hibs every week but getting close to the English Premier League side was always going to be a huge ask, especially as Villa’s 5-1 defeat in the opening week of the season and their 4-0 victory over Everton at the weekend proved those top tier side’s are capable of humbling even those supposedly on the same level.
It is after all 17 years since a Scottish side out-scored English opponents on the European stage and for all that the Leith outfit impressed against FC Luzern, Unai Emery - a man with an incredible European pedigree - and his team were also going to be a bigger test.
It was one that they hoped they could pass but, in the build up, the manager Lee Johnson and his players acknowledged that it would take a slice of luck and 90 minutes of total concentration to deliver the unexpected.
As it was, Villa showed how easily they could punish a line-up that had those momentary slips.
Without really getting out of second or third gear, the Midlands side eased their way through the tie and when Hibs head south next midweek, the only thought will be preventing the aggregate score from becoming excruciating.
David Marshall did weigh in with a couple of saves to help prevent things getting really hairy.
The Hibs manager has already spoken about using next week’s second leg as a learning experience but they will have to be a quicker study than they were in this match as they conceded some poor goals.
Out-classed, they still should have done better in certain spells of the match and in particular moments. The fact they didn’t, gave Villa a three goal lead by half-time.
The opener came in the 17th minute when Watkins found space and powered a header into Marshall’s net.
They could have doubled that score a couple of minutes later but the effort went over, and in the 32nd minute Marshall had to again display his pedigree by palming Bailey’s angled drive over.
Watkins made it two when, once again, he lost his man, and converted a back post header. The third was another back post header but this time it was Bailey who capitalised on poor marking and from then on Villa were in cruise control.
HIbs showed some attacking intent at the beginning of the second half as Elie Youan almost set up Martin Boyle and then had a shot of his own tipped just over the bar. But Villa cruelly responded to that with a counter-attack and Watkins completed his hat-trick, before Lewis Stevenson conceded a penalty, which Traore dispatched expertly to rub salt in the Hibs wounds.