A double from Danny Handling gave Hibernian a 2-0 victory over Dundee United in the SPFL Development League fixture held at Station Park. Both sides came into the match on good form with Dundee United overcoming Dunfermline and Hibernian continuing their unbeaten run with a 2-2 draw at St Mirren.
Farid El Alagui continuing his return from injury for the Easter Road side was included in a squad which also contained three players on the bench for the previous weeks SPFL Championship match at Cowdenbeath in Martin Boyle, Sam Stanton and Danny Handling. Dundee United perhaps with one eye on Wednesday's Scottish Cup replay with Celtic did not included any over age players on match day.
Despite there being a lesser amount of first team experience the home side started brightly with Ola Aadeymo’s advance on Kleton Perntreou’s goal being brought to a halt by an offside flag.
Following the let off Hibernian managed to gain a foothold in the match and some sustained pressure around the United area led to powerful effort from Handling which flew just wide of post. Untroubled by the previous effort from the Hibs number eight, Joe McGovern in the United goal had to be alert to collect a deep cross from Stanton with El Alagui lurking in the box.
It was clear Hibernian were looking to take advantage of the aerial prowess of the former Brentford man and another good delivery by Aaron Dunsmore almost led to the opening goal from El Alagui’s diving header. As the away side pressed for the opener they were almost caught on the counter, good work by Chris McGlaughlin resulted in a driven ball across goal which was just beyond the onrushing Aadeymo.
Following the chance for United the earlier pattern of play resumed with Stanton heavily involved, firstly having an effort on goal which drifted wide and delivering a cross into the box which rose above the heads of Boyle and El Alagui.
Dundee United continued to soak up the pressure and almost took the lead through Jamie Montgomery’s effort which was parried to safety by Perntreou. Dunsmore continued to look lively and created the best chance of the half by playing a ball across goal which made its way to El Alagui who directed wide following a fresh air swipe by Boyle.
El Alagui had two further efforts to break the deadlock through a header which sailed wide and a low shot well held by McGovern. The United keeper was having a decent afternoon and was again called into action by a Stanton effort from just outside the box. Both sides would go into the half time break on level terms after Stanton’s free kick drifted over the bar.