Hibernian vs. Ayr United
Betfred Cup Second Round
Tuesday 8th August 2017. Kick-off 7.45pm
On Tuesday night, Ayr United travel to Edinburgh take on Championship title holders Hibernian in the second round of the Betfred Cup. A tough task awaits the Honest Men at Easter Road but Ian McCall’s men go into the game in red-hot form and the knowledge they made life difficult for the Hibees in Leith last season. The match pitches together the two of the top scorers in Scottish football; The Honest Men have found the net 20 times in five games already this season.
Hibernian started off life back in the top tier of Scottish football with a 3-1 come-from-behind win at home to Partick Thistle on Saturday. Chris Erskine opened the scoring in the seventh minute at Easter Road but Thistle’s lead didn’t last long, Martin Boyle equalizing seven minutes later. The returning Steven Whittaker put Hibs ahead before half-time and former Dundee United striker Simon Murray netted from the penalty spot in the second-half, his eight goal of the season.
Neil Lennon’s side topped their group in the first round of the Betfred Cup with comprehensive home wins over Montrose (4-0) and Arbroath (6-1) and a 3-0 victory away to Alloa but drew 0-0 away to Ross County, losing the penalty shoot-out. In addition to Whittaker and Murray, Neil Lennon has signed midfielder Danny Swanson, Lithuanian internationals Vykintas Slivka and Deivydas Matulevicius and Scottish Cup hero Anthony Stokes.
Team News: Jamie Adams and Robbie Crawford miss out through injury. Everyone else is fit and available.
Ian says: “Obviously we are delighted with the start we have made however we are taking it one game at a time. Every match so far this season has been a different challenge and of course tonight’s will be the most difficult yet. Hibs are on a high and have made some good signings over the summer to add to the quality they already had. We have some momentum though and we will go to Easter Road with no pressure on us and look to attack and enjoy the occasion. We did very well at Easter Road last season so we know how difficult it can be but also that we can get something.”
Head to head (League Cup):
Ayr United wins – 3
Draws – 1
Hibernian wins – 5
United’s three victories over Hibs in the League Cup came at home in August 1975 in a group stage game; a Quarter-Final second-leg match at Easter Road in October 1980; and at Hampden Park in the Semi-Final in February 2002.
Hibs won the last League Cup meeting between the sides in September 2005. Derek Riordan netted twice in the first-half at Somerset Park before Gareth Wardlaw struck late on to make 2-1.
The sides met five times last season in league and cup. Neil Lennon’s side found things relatively straight-forward in Ayrshire, recording 3-0 and 4-0 victories at Somerset Park but needed three attempts to chalk up a win at Easter Road. The then holders ran out 3-1 winners in the Scottish Cup in March but not before United earned a shock league win in September with goals from Conrad Balatoni and Brian Gilmour and then held Hibernian to 1-1 draw in February.
On this day:
In 1998, Ayr progressed to the third of the League Cup with a 3-1 win away to St. Mirren. Andy Walker and Andy Lyons put the Honest Men ahead before half-time and Glynn Hurst extended United’s lead at Love Street on the hour mark. Tam Brown scored a late consolation for the home side.
Referee – Kevin Clancy
Assistant Referee 1 – Alasdair Ross
Assistant Referee 2 – Gordon Crawford
Fourth Official – Grant Irvine
Adults – £15
Concessions – £10
Tickets will be on sale at Easter Road from the ticket pod at the away end (South Stand) which will open at 6.30pm.