Hibs eased into the Scottish Cup quarter-final with a comfortable 3-1 victory away at Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Second half goals from Myziane Maolida, Martin Boyle and Elie Youan proved enough to see off the Highlanders, and make straightforward work of what was billed as a potentially perilous tie. Nick Montgomery handed first starts to Eliezer Mayenda and Luke Amos, with Myziane Maolida also returning to the starting side at the expense of Dylan Levitt, Dylan Vente and Elie Youan. Aaron Doran brilliantly volleyed home a consolation for the hosts with the last kick, and the afternoon was also rounded off by a welcome return to action for Chris Cadden, out of action since May with a torn achilles.

His comeback was warmly greeted by a sizeable travelling support, one sent back down the road with their side in the hat for Sunday's last eight draw. Patrick McPartlin and Liam Bryce were at the Caledonian Stadium to provide the instant analysis.

Job done up north

More than one preview of this encounter predicted a thoroughly awkward afternoon in store for the travelling Hibees. Those forecasts of potential doom proved wide of the mark, with Montgomery's side doing a solid, if unspectacular, job in dispatching their Championship opponents. The first-half produced half-chances only, with Amos, Moriah-Welsh, Boyle and Myziane all having a go with varying degrees of menace. Boyle managing to keep the ball in play with his head while lying flat on the deck being among the half's highlights did tell somewhat of a story, though, and Montgomery will have asked for more post-interval. There's no denying what followed was much better, with Myziane's deflected effort easing any nerves that may have been building. A no-frills long ball through the middle then somehow evaded the Caley defence, and it allowed Boyle to round keeper Mark Ridgers for a decisive second. As the home side got desperate, spaces opened up for Hibs, and a beautifully worked move involving Levitt and the returning Emiliano set Boyle free to square for Youan. Three goals, a back four mostly untroubled throughout, and a place in the next round made this a satisfying days' work for Hibs.

Liam Bryce

Improving depth starts to show

Throughout Hibs’ winless run in December and January, Nick Montgomery was consistent with his assertion that, with a larger squad at his disposal, things would get better. Going by the display on Wednesday night and at the Caledonian Stadium, he wasn’t wrong. He made three changes, handing starts to Luke Amos, Eliezer Mayenda, and Myziane Maolida and while the former two looked a little off the pace, unsurprisingly, Myziane looked sharper in a front three and got Hibs a much-needed goal early in the second half to settle any nerves they might have had. 
Dylan Levitt and Élie Youan replaced Amos and Mayenda at the break, illustrating Montgomery’s strength in depth. That he had the opportunity to bring on Adam Le Fondre and Emi Marcondes, along with the returning Chris Cadden, is proof of how much healthier the squad is looking, and not before time. 
It would seem premature to take too much from a Scottish Cup tie against lower-league opposition - and the performance today was never going to match Wednesday night for intensity, but after a goalless first half with a handful of decent chances, Hibs reset and picked up where they had left off.
It was fitting that two of the subs were involved in the third goal with Levitt’s pass for Boyle allowing the Australian internationalist to tee up Youan. 

Patrick McPartlin

Boyle's telling impact

Martin Boyle, eh? Just his second game back from international duty and he pops up with a goal and an assist. There was a time, not long after he had left for his brief Saudi Arabian adventure with Al-Faisaly, when Hibs looked desperately short in attack and despite having Kevin Nisbet, who later suffered a season-ending injury, Christian Doidge, and James Scott, struggled for goals and chances, and it became worryingly apparent just how much of a talisman he was.
That was compounded on his return when he climbed off the bench and despite being short of fitness and match-practice, netted a late equaliser against Hearts.
Hibs look like less of a one-man show these days, and there was a lot to like about this performance - Nathan Moriah-Welsh continues to impress in midfield, Jordan Obita was a class above at left-back, and Boyle, back in his favoured right-wing role, was a constant threat. 
He spoke ahead of the Celtic game about his preference to play wide right and so far, he has backed that up and looked more like his usual self.

Patrick McPartlin

Midfield balance improves

The the balance of the team, especially in the middle of the park, has improved in this new 4-3-3 shape. Newell operated as the number six with Nathan Moriah-Welsh and Luke Amos slightly more advanced. For most of the first half, Moriah-Welsh was the highest of the three, and he provided something Hibs have lacked - a willingness to run beyond from midfield. There were a few instances where he made good runs from deep but wasn't picked out, and his general presence gives the central trio a more aggressive feel, snapping at heels and putting out fires where required. Amos looked short match sharpness, which was understandable given how long it's been since he started a competitive match, but that will come with time. Levitt looked sharp following his second-half arrival, and looks more comfortable with license to roam a little more than he would be permitted to in the 4-4-2. He and Emiliano are certainly on the same wavelength, and they enjoyed linking in space as the game opened up towards the end. 

Liam Bryce