Hibernian 6

Hamilton 0

NEIL Lennon played down talk of title contention but compared two-goal Stevie Mallan to Celtic legend Lubomir Moravcik as Hibernian hit Hamilton for six.

Scotland Under-21 international Mallan struck either side of the interval from outside of the penalty box as Hibs dispatched sorry Accies with three goals in each half.

Edinburgh rivals Hearts may have received plenty of plaudits this season, but second-placed Hibernian now sit two points behind the Tynecastle table-toppers.

“A result like that has been coming,” insisted Lennon. “It’s very pleasing that the players have been rewarded for what’s a really good run of form.”

He added however: “To be second place now, it’s only eight games in. We’re not getting excited, we still have to play Celtic, Rangers and Hearts. We’ll be tested in those games but I’m very pleased with what I’m seeing.”

Lennon did, though, hail “a complete team performance” in which, while Hibernian’s play was breathtakingly slick, Hamilton were breathtakingly slack.

And perhaps the most galling thing of the opening stages for the visitors was that they spurned, by far, the best opportunity. In the 18th minute, Rakish Bingham struck sprawling Hibernian goalkeeper Adam Bogdan after a ball over the top presented the Hamilton striker a one-on-one chance.

The miss was to prove costly just seven minutes later.

Hibernian worked the ball out to captain David Gray on the right and his cross into the box ricocheted into the path of Martin Boyle who had time to take a touch and shoot high into the net for his third goal of the season.

Boyle should have made it two a minute after his opener, tugging wide of the post from an angle, and Emerson Hyndman did similarly from a central position not long afterwards.

It didn’t matter.

Mallan was given time at the edge of the penalty – not a wise move, and more on that later – and curled a shot high into the top corner that Gary Woods’ fingertips could only help on its way for 2-0.

Some of the Hibernian passing was exceptionally incisive, but Hamilton really didn’t help themselves – no more so than for the third goal. Hibernian were given the freedom to play from one side of the pitch to the other and Boyle’s cutback from the left gave Hyndman ample opportunity to open up his body and side-foot into the corner.

Lewis Stevenson may have sclaffed his shot wide at the start of the second period from Mallan’s corner to the edge of the box but it was further evidence of Hibernian’s gallus inventiveness.

Mallan’s precision, Boyle’s movement, Gray a near-permanent outlet on the right and Kamberi a strong spearhead – and that was just for starters.

The Swiss striker should have made it four just after the hour but saw his side-foot shot repelled by Woods. He wasn’t to be denied a goal come full-time though.

The second half resembled little more than a training exercise as Hibernian added the fourth in the 71st minute. Mallan accepted Kamberi’s pass around 25 yards from goal and, without a Hamilton player in sight, drilled a right-footed shot into the bottom corner.

“Mallan is an enigma really,” said Lennon of the former St Mirren player signed from Barnsley during the summer. He then paid perhaps the ultimate compliment by comparing him to a certain legendary Slovakian who was his team-mate at Celtic.

“I’ve never seen anyone hit a ball as consistently as well as that since Moravcik days, he puts dip or bend on it 20-25 yards out. You’re disappointed if he doesn’t work the goalkeeper, actually.

‘That’s nine goals he’s got from midfield already – exceptional going at this stage of the season. We’re delighted with him.”

Substitute Daryl Horgan should have made it five, Matthew Kilgallon heading the Irishman’s shot off the line after he rounded Woods, but Kamberi did in injury-time, shooting low into the corner from Horgan’s pass.

Hibernian then completed the cricket score when Kamberi raced clear and Kilgallon could only divert the cross-shot into his own net.

“That was sore,” said Hamilton manager Martin Canning. “In terms of performances that’s up there with the worst. That’s as disappointed as I’ve been after a game.”

For Lennon, though, “there’s more to come” from Hibernian.