Arbroath Vics 1, Thornton Hibs 5
In their previous outing, the Hibs’ players wore black armbands as a mark of respect to a former manager, Bill Mercer, who had passed away in December.
Sadly they had them on again at Arbroath on Saturday after hearing the awful news that another ex-manager, Kevin Parker, had died aged only 58.
Kevin would surely have looked down favourably on his old charges though as they blew Arbroath Vics away with Chris Ireland’s four goals causing most of the damage on a more than decent playing surface.
Ireland’s first came in the sixth minute when Adam Drummond’s perfect cross afforded him the opportunity to blast the ball past Lewis Cargill.
Ireland turned provider six minutes later with a great pass that sent Raymond Crichton scarpering up the inside-left channel and he clinically shot beyond the advancing Vics’ ‘keeper.
Cargill kept the home side in the game with two top drawer saves from Ross Morgan and Garry Thomson but chances were by no means restricted to one end of the park as Scott Donald and David Sturrock both came close to reducing the leeway.
And how no one connected with Joshua Chalmers’ low cross that went right across the face of goal is anyone’s guess.
The first goal in the second-half was always going to be massive in deciding the outcome of the game and it came from the man of the moment, Ireland, in the 53rd minute when he had time to steady himself before striking a low shot into the net.
Ireland completed his hat-trick in the 64th minute when he coolly rounded Cargill then rolled the ball into the gaping goal.
Although Joe Tindal pulled one back for the home side in the 80th minute, Ireland restored the Hibs’ four goal advantage in stoppage time from the penalty spot after he was brought down by Dale Riddell with the Vics’ defender being sent-off for his misdemeanour.
Window Store Hibs’ man of the match – Chris Ireland.
Thornton Hibs: Rowbotham, Gordon, Drummond, Hepburn, McGowan, McNeil, Gay, Thomson, Ireland, Morgan, Crichton. Subs: Shields, Adam, Leslie, Shanks, Young.