WHEN Leith is bathed in sunshine as it was for Hibernian’s first day back in the Premiership on Saturday, it can be easy to see what inspired the Reid brothers to pay homage to the area in song.

Surveying the scene prior to kick off, with bellowing flames shooting up from pitch-side as the teams made their way out amid deafening accompaniment from the stands, you were left in no doubt that the league will be enriched by having Hibs back at the top table. You also couldn’t help but nurse the nagging notion that a club of this stature never really have been away in the first place, and certainly not for three long seasons.

Those days were finally banished though as chairman Rod Petrie hoisted the Championship winners’ flag up the pole in the centre-circle, unleashing a cathartic roar from the Hibs support that had been building for most of that time.

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But as any football supporter will tell you, just when you think things are going well and a period of plain sailing is afoot, this game has an uncanny knack of delivering a swift boot to the nether regions just to keep you grounded.

Thistle, who had watched all of the pre-match hoopla unfold with the sort of steely-eyed indifference you might see from a rugby side squaring up to the All Blacks performing the Haka, wasted no time in showing their hosts that it is what you do on the pitch that counts.

Like an unwanted guest at a wedding who falls into the cake and puts the lips on the bride, Thistle set about flattening the atmosphere by taking control of the ball from the opening whistle, and their probing play pricked the Easter Road balloon just seven minutes in.

Stevie Lawless picked the ball up 30 yards from goal and threaded a lovely reverse ball through for Chris Erskine, who spun in behind before drawing Ofir Marciano out and slotting home.

The ease by which the home defence were carved open was jarring, and you wondered whether the pre-season hype about Hibs challenging near the top of this league was about to become as exposed as their centre-back pairing of Efe Ambrose and Paul Hanlon had been made to look.

But the buoyant visiting support, with their team ahead and cruising at this stage, were about to be reminded that football’s taste for bringing fans down a peg or two is indiscriminate.

John McGinn, who grew into the dominating force in the game, fired a pass into the feet of Simon Murray that was too hot for the flame-haired striker to handle. The ball ricocheted though off the shins of Danny Devine and fell perfectly for Martin Boyle, who tucked it home.

As if to kick Thistle when they were down, striker Kris Doolan then limped from the action after feeling a niggle in his hamstring. Young Kevin Nisbet climbed off the bench to replace the Jags’ main goal threat, and with the greatest of respect to the prospect, that development may have sharpened the focus of manager Alan Archibald on the need to strengthen his attacking options.

It was only a matter of time before Hibs hit the front, and as well-worked a goal as it was, the Jags defending could be described as passive, at best. Danny Swanson and Dylan McGeouch exchanged passes on the left, before Swanson laid a low ball across the area for the arriving Steven Whittaker to finish with the outside of his right foot.

Murray got the goal his performance deserved to kill the game off soon after the re-start. Former son of this parish Callum Booth was clumsy as he tripped McGeouch in the area, and Murray stepped up to finish coolly from the spot.