Goals by first team squad players Ross Caldwell and Danny Handling were not enough to secure even a share of the points for Hibs under 20s last night as the youngsters lost 3-2 to Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Livingston’s Energy Assets Arena.
Hibs, who also had midfielder Paul Cairney in the starting line-up went 3-0 down to the Highlanders before staging a second half comeback scoring twice inside the final 21 minutes but Inverness held on to achieve the victory.
The defeat was only the team’s second competitive defeat of the season, and leaves Hibs in fourth spot in the SPFL U20 League table.
After the game, Head of Academy Coaching James McDonaugh told the club website: “The score-line flattered us, without doubt. I think I could give three players, Horne, Crane and Cummings pass marks from the 11 that started.
“From the rest, it simply was not acceptable. I can’t recall us defending as badly as that ever. Inverness had a strong side out and we did not handle their pressing and strength at all, the young players simply didn’t cope and the more experienced ones didn’t do enough to help.
“It’s a concern when you coach players every day on how to receive and pass the ball, be creative, and also how to defend, but then they perform like that where it looked as though they couldn’t do any of those things properly.”
Hibernian under-20s have got two matches in two days this weekend at the Training Centre – a perfect opportunity to bounce back.
On Saturday, Hibernian EOS face Leith Athletic in the East of Scotland Qualifying League, Section C, kick off 2.30pm.
Then on Sunday Hibernian under-20s face Ross County in the Scottish Youth Cup third round, kick off 2pm.
Hibernian under-20s: Dougie Horne, Andrew Black, Callum Crane, Ryan Baptie, Bob Wilson, Tom Gardiner, Danny Handling, Dean Horribine, Jason Cummings, Ross Caldwell, Paul Cairney
Subs: Kleton Perntreou, Aaron Dunsmore, Gareth McCaffrey, David Paul, Euan Smith (for Caldwell 80), Jordan Sinclair (for Wilson 74)
Elsewhere, Hibs fans will have the chance to meet French winger Abdellah ‘Zouby’ Zoubir at the club shop tomorrow between 3pm and 3.45pm.