Hibernian 1-3 Newcastle United
A competent display from Bruce’s mags was enough to see off a Hibernian side who’d taken an early lead at Easter Road this evening.
Goals from Joelinton, on his full debut, a fantastic long range effort from Longstaff and a second half nodded effort from Lascelles were enough to cancel out a 10th minute Mallan goal to give Newcastle a much deserved win.
STARTING XI: Darlow, Manquillo (Sterry, 76), Schar (Fernandez, 76), Lascelles, Dummett (Clark, 71), Ritchie (Aarons, 11), Hayden, Shelvey (M Longstaff, 76), S Longstaff (Ki, 60), Almiron (Murphy, 61), Joelinton (Muto, 69)
The only downside to the night was an injury to Ritchie that left Bruce cursing his luck after confirming the United winger would undergo a scan to assess a bad looking injury.
To be ultra critical you could also argue that another nervous display in front of goal for Almiron was another negative, although it is surely only going to take one lucky break or moment of skill to build the lads confidence and allow him to shine this season.
The highlight has to be a fantastic display from our new number nine. Accomplished, polished, strong and clinical - if this is any indication of what is to come from Joelinton this season then the record signing will be a snip at the £30m-£40m Newcastle United reportedly paid for the Brazilian.
Hibs, to their credit, had taken the lead. Steve Mallan the with a drive from range that beat Karl Darlow all ends up. Newcastle fans will have been relieved to hear Steve Bruce confirm that Dubravka is back in Newcastle and is set to play this weekend, quashing any rumours he was on the verge of leaving the club. Phew!
But even before the home side had taken the lead on 9 minutes, Joelinton could have been on the score sheet. Only a last ditch clearance denying him the perfect start.
He wouldn’t have to wait long though. As with just 16 minutes on the clock the Newcastle forward slotted home from another Manquillo cross to claim his first goal in black and white. Scenes for the travelling Toon Army.
There had been action between the two goals. First Ritchie having to be withdrawn with that serious looking injury, and Almiron missing the target after a superb Shelvey cross.
Newcastle were well on top by now and came close again through Longstaff, Schar and Almiron again, after being sent clean through.
More chances for the visitors would come and go and it seemed like only a matter of time before they stuck again.
The breakthrough would come from the sought after Sean Longstaff, who seized on a ball on the edge of the box to fire into the keepers bottom right hand corner with a beautiful effort. Let’s hope no-one was watching!
For all of the first half, and for 25 minutes of the second before being withdrawn from the action, Joelinton was outstanding. We'd like to think this was more of a Shearer type debut than that of Sissoko. We ‘might’ just have a player on our hands you know!
The third goal came just moments after the number nine had left the field. A cross from the impressive Aarons, a finish from Captain Lascelles.
All in all then, a satisfying nights work.
Steve Bruce confirmed after the game he was still quietly hopeful of a couple of signings but refused to talk names. Time will tell.
In the meantime, let’s hope the Ritchie injury is not as serious as it first looked. And a fantastic start for a lad we can only hope will become a United legend.