Hibs saw off battling Arbroath to book their place in the Scottish Cup quarter final in a nervous clash at Gayfield.
Craig Wighton fired the Red Lichties into an early lead, before Demetri Mitchell brought the game level.
Kevin Nisbet got his name on the scoresheet with a brilliant first-time finish, and Chris Mueller ensured there would be no Scottish Cup shock with a late third.
The hosts raced into an early lead as Wighton beat Josh Doig to Colin Hamilton’s cross from the left flank to slide the ball under Matt Macey.
The lead was almost doubled moments later as the Hibs defense switched off. With Wighton tracking back from an offside position, the visiting backline expected Michael McKenna to be flagged off as well.
However, he was left unmarked and when the linesman didn’t raise the flag, a frantic Porteous rushed back to stop the striker who was in on goal.
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Hibs would draw level as a well-worked set-piece allowed Lewis Stevenson to whip a ball to the back post, and Mitchell headed the ball into the top corner.
Derek Gaston kept his side in it as he denied Chris Cadden from close range, after the Hibs man was slipped through one on one with the stopper.
They continued to take control of the game, Gaston rescued his side once again as he denied Kevin Nibset from a tight angle on the left, before the chipped rebound was tipped over the bar by the towering goalkeeper.
Straight from the half-time restart, a Wighton robbed Rocky Bushiri of the ball and broke through one-on-one with Macey. But the goalkeeper was quick off his line to deny the striker at the vital moment.
Scott Stewart was causing problems on the right, and took the ball off the toes of Doig in the Hibs defensive third to carve out another opportunity. He slipped the ball to Jack Hamilton, but the Livingston loanee couldn’t slide the ball under the onrushing stopper.
Nisbet then passed up a great opportunity to put his side ahead, as Ewen Henderson’s low ball from the right found the attacker at the near post. The Scotland cap slipped and got the ball caught in his feet from him, putting it out for a goal kick.
He would have the ball in the net as sub Chris Mueller broke the Arbroath defensive line, and Nisbet slid the ball into the bottom corner. However, the flag would go up for a marginal offside call.
He would finally get his goal as Cadden’s cross was thumped into the net with an immaculate finish after an immaculate first touch
Hibs place in the quarter-final stage was sealed by Mueller as a mix-up as the back saw him slide in an convert Cadden’s dinked cross to net his first goal for the club.
We need to talk about Kevin
Kevin Nisbet has been struggling to recapture his from from last season, but was the star of the show at Gayfield.
He hadn’t found the net since the last round of the Scottish Cup in the win over Cove Rangers last month, but showed signs of his best against Championship leaders.
But he’s back on the scoresheet again and Hibs boss Shaun Maloney will be hoping for the goal and stunning finish will kick-start his campaign.
It will surely be a massive boost to the player’s confidence to get back to scoring.
Ready for the next step
For Dick Campbell’s men it was a dress rehearsal of what they hope next season will look like – a big Premiership side coming to Gayfield.
A fairytale promotion from the Championship would see the part-time side welcoming the biggest teams in the country to Angus.
And if the clash with Hibs is anything to go by, they are more than ready for the step up.
It was a battling performance form the side, as they harassed the Leith men in their own third and carved out plenty of opportunities.
If they do reach the Premiership promise land, it’s clear Arbroath won’t just be there to make up the numbers next term.
Turning point for Maloney?
It’s fair to say Hibs haven’t really got going under Shaun Maloney.
The game at Arbroath looked to be a potential banana skin for Hibs after they arrived at Gayfield on a run of six games without a league win.
That appeared to be coming to fruition after Craig Wighton’s early goal, but the capital outfit continued to battle and fight until they rescued the game and booked their place in the Scottish Cup quarter final.
The spirit shown by Hibs will encourage Maloney and he must demand that he carries through to the Premiership campaign.