Hibs defeated English Premier League side Arsenal in a 2-1 friendly win at Easter Road as Jack Ross’ side secured an impressive victory in front of 2,000 returning home supporters.
A goalkeeping error from Arsenal talent Arthur Okonkwo allowed Hibs’ Martin Boyle to tap into an empty net in the first half. Daniel Mackay added a second for Hibs moments after coming off the bench to seal the win after half-time, Emile Smith-Rowe pulling one back for the away team, but the cinch Premiership outfit held on.
Ross’ side faced Accrington Stanley and Stoke City as part of an English training camp last week. With the first UEFA Europa Conference League qualifier against either Mons Calpe or Santa Coloma coming next week, Hibs will round off pre-season against cinch Championship side Raith Rovers on Friday.
Eddie Nketiah should have put Arsenal ahead after four minutes, Paul Hanlon’s slip putting him clean through on goal, but he couldn’t beat former Emirates teammate Matt Macey. Boyle would punish the away side for this, Okonkwo with an unfortunate mishit as he tried to clear the ball. The Australian international finished with ease.
Arsenal made a host of changes at half-time and hit the woodwork twice from free-kick situations in the second half as they searched for a leveler. Mackay was the one to get it the game’s second goal with his first touch on his first Easter Road appearance, heading into the net after a Hanlon set-up.
Smith-Rowe netted a consolation for Arsenal. Here are three things we learned.
Hibs only named seven substitutes for this match, which is perhaps low for a pre-season encounter. Josh Doig, Christian Doidge, Darren McGregor Stevie Mallan and Jake Doyle-Hayes were some of the names missing, Ross no doubt hopeful of having at least some back for next Thursday’s crucial tie.
You shouldn’t read too much into pre-season friendly results – whether it’s a win or a loss – but this is still encouraging all the same for Hibs. Arsenal were not a full-strength but still played a host of established Premier League players. They showed their quality in flashes, but it was clear Hibs were much closer to full match sharpness.
The second half Hibs goalkeeper was really impressive. Macey is expected to be the number one at Easter Road this season after the exit of Ofir Marciano, but with a penalty save, free-kick tip onto the bar and commanding presence, Dabrowski will push him all the way.
NTOF now offers a YouTube channel featuring exclusive interviews, post-match discussion, in-depth debate, and much more – LIKE and SUBSCRIBE and don’t miss any of our videos.