Hibs 0 Dundee United 3 story: How Tam Courts’ side rose to third after adding goals to Premiership best defensive record
Eyebrows rose and nose rose when Tam Courts – whose only previous canoe experience came with Kelty Hearts in the junior ranks – took the reins this summer after Micky Mellon left.
He was already winning over fans with a start to the season where United sat comfortably in the top half of the table, having become the first team in 18 months to defeat Rangers in the league.
The concern may have been the lack of goals with just five goals scored in eight appearances before the move to Hibs.
But a 3-0 win at one of the toughest venues in the division, and the way it was done, showed United are on the right track under the courts.
His side have the best defensive record in the division with just five conceded – two short of the league leaders – and although it has been a sobering afternoon for Hibs, United are emerging as real contenders. Europeans.
Hibs offered England Under-20 captain Nathan Wood his defensive debut as Middlesbrough loan center-back replaced suspended Ryan Porteous.
But it was a young Scotsman who drew attention with impressive Declan Glass on his first departure for United in 21 months after suffering an ACL injury while on loan at Partick Thistle in 2020.
The 21-year-old was bright and industrious during his hour at the park and will now be looking to start and realize his potential as one of the country’s top-rated young prospects.
United fans got only a brief glimpse of new signing Maxime Biamou as ex-Coventry striker replaced first goalscorer Nicky Clark in the 80th minute when the game was already won.
Clark had cleared the deadlock seconds before half-time and although he came afterwards at the end of a first half where neither team offered much of a threat, it was United who seemed by far most likely.
Matt Macey had made saves on Ilmari Niskanen and Glass from 20 yards but didn’t stand a chance with Clark’s curling effort at a similar distance that sent United in the meantime on a summit.
This continued into the start of the second half and the visitors doubled their lead seven minutes after the restart when a Scott McMann cross was pushed home by Ryan Edwards’ header.
The defender made a vital contribution into the opposing box moments later, deflecting Jamie Murphy’s goal shot over the bar, in what was a rare attempt to one day forget for Hibs.
United concluded the win with 16 minutes remaining as they passed through the home defense in a series of triangles before Niskanen lined up for Kieran Freeman to finish.
Hibs’ misery worsened in the final stages when Kevin Nisbet – who barely touched the ball all afternoon – was denied a consolation goal when he saw his effort hit the post of the Benjamin Siegrist’s fingertips.