Jamie Gullan lit up Easter Road with two goals and an eye-catching display as Hibernian overcame East Kilbride in the third round of the Scottish Youth Cup.
Gullan’s goals either side of half-time, the first a well-struck free kick and the second an instinctive finish, were enough to secure victory over a resilient East Kilbride side, who replied through Jay McInally in first-half stoppage time.
“It was just about the result today,” said Gullan afterwards. “We didn’t play our best but we got what we wanted so we’re all happy.
“They were difficult to break down and were right in our faces from the start. We just had to keep passing the ball to find space. In the end two goals were enough.”
From the start, it was clear that the 18-year-old was Hibs’ biggest threat. His speed on the ball allowed him to beat his full-back every time, and drive forward into the space.
The visitors were surely aware of the danger, but there wasn’t much they could do about it. In the 26th minute Gullan again turned at halfway and ran at the East Kilbride defenders, who hauled him down on the edge of the box. Undeterred, Gullan picked himself up and curled a sublime shot up, over the wall, and into the far corner.
“I practice free-kicks in training,” Gullan said. “I want to step up and take them and I fancied my chances.”
East Kilbride continued to sit in, and were fortunate not fall further behind just before the break. From a corner, goalkeeper Kieran Bell was forced into making a save on the line. His palmed effort only went as far as Hibs striker Ruairi Paton, who, from under the bar, couldn’t keep his header down.
Hibs were perhaps a little too comfortable, and the equaliser came from a complete lapse in concentration. Defender Josh Campbell was under no pressure at all, but his back-pass to keeper Maciej Dabrowski was woefully under-hit. East Kilbride forward Gavin Millar burst onto the loose ball but was smothered by Dabrowski. Instead, it broke to McInally, who poked the ball over the line from the edge of the box.