I’ll start this with the fans because that was magic. Being in a stadium with thousands of fans just felt right, felt normal, that first proper roar of “Hibees Hibees Hibees” was spine tingling. The singing, chanting, complaining, protesting, and general buzz was there. Every tackle was applauded, every miss-placed pass was groaned at, and the goals were pandemonium. Brilliant.

On to the game itself. I’ve not seen any highlights or replays, so this is purely my opinion on what I saw from the stand today.

I thought Hibs played very well for the majority of the game, showed great character and resilience to come back twice from conceding and thoroughly deserved the victory. Plenty room for improvement, and some individuals who need to up their game, but overall I saw plenty more positives than negatives.

Hibs started the game well enough but the midfield was slow and ponderous on the ball, with far too many passes going backwards on sideways. That said when we did get forward we looked dangerous. Then we fall behind due to some frankly horrendous defending first from Paul McGinn who didn’t do nearly enough to block the cross, then we left their striker completely unmarked in the six yard box to finish. 1-0 down, no what we were expecting but Hibs didn’t take long to get back into the game. Some good work down the right hand side and the ball broke to the impressive Kyle Magennis who finished well to equalise. Not long after we again shot ourself in the foot with some horrific defending, it looked like Gogic completely lost his man and again they had a free header to take the lead. If that wasn’t bad enough, the referee would give us more to be frustrated about when he failed to give an absolute stone wall penalty when Magennis was cynically brought down while through on goal. As clear a penalty as I’ve seen, and that was from the other end of the stadium.

Second half we came out with purpose, Boyle should have done better after doing well to work his way into their box, although a couple of times we looked shakey dealing with their counter attacks. Jack Ross deserves a lot of credit for changing it early in the second half, the introduction of Doidge immediately changing the game. It freed Nisbet up and he was able to get a shot away (his first of the match?) which came back off the post, with the big Welshman there to scrambled the ball across the line. Scrappy goal but Doidge anticipated it and made sure he got to the ball first. By this point the momentum was with us and we were looking dangerous. Nisbet’s shot looked to strike O’Donnell’s hand from pretty close range but the referee (maybe because of his first half mistake) pointed to the penalty spot. Their keeper tried some sort of tactic to put Boyle off, all he got for it was a yellow card and a third opportunity to pick the ball out of his net, fanny. From then on we looked in control, Motherwell are a pretty poor side and maybe a better one might have created more against us, but we saw the game out for a deserved victory. A bouncing Hibs end applauded the team off the park. 3 points, can’t ask for more than that away from home on the opening weekend of the season.

The team then:

Macey - have to be honest, he didn’t impress. Didn’t look particularly commanded at either goal, and his distribution is awful. He did make one excellent saved, but flapped at a cross near the end.

McGinn - struggled for much of the first half and should have done better to stop the cross for their opener. Improved second half but doesn’t look the steady player he was last season.

Porteous - I thought he was very good, strong and confident performance. Got booked near the end but I’m not sure why.

Hanlon - not his best game. Deservedly booked for a rash tackle on the halfway line, and his passing was pretty wayward at times.

Stevenson - defensively he was excellent, some solid tackles and blocks, but doesn’t offer as much going forward as Doig does/did.

Gogic - spent the first half giving away needless fouls, including one that lead to their second goal. Didn’t do much else, wasn’t impressed with what I saw of him. Deservedly hooked second half.

Newell - a total passenger first half. Some many passes back and slowed the game down constantly, doesn’t take the ball on the half turn which kills the momentum going forward. Improved second half when Gogic went off.

Boyle - took a little while to get going but when he did he roasted them. Defenders fear him. He takes so many heavy challenges and just gets up and comes back for more. His fitness levels are tremendous. Great penalty for the winner.

Magennis - I thought he was outstanding, if that’s how he’s going to perform on a regular basis we’ve got a real player on our hands. Some great touches, passes and driving runs. Got forward well, scored and should have won a penalty. Well played.

Murphy - good one minute, poor the next. Runs himself into trouble too often.

Nisbet - found it hard going being the lone striker but played well, linked the play with some nice touches but didn’t look like scoring. Found it easier when Doidge came on.

Doidge - changed the game, scored the equaliser and we looked much more fluid moving forward with him pulling defenders away. Great to see him get off the mark.

Doyle-Hayes - looked a good player, some good interceptions and passes. I think he’ll be pushing to start ahead of Gogic before long.

Campbell - came on late and didn’t have much time, but helped us see it out.

I thought Motherwell were pretty poor, some heavy challenges and long ball stuff in the main.

Overall a great start to the season! Next up is the Croatian team I’m not going to attempt to spell on Thursday night at Easter Road, 7:45pm kick off.