Hibernian boss Lee Johnson saw his side put on a strong performance to beat Luzern 3-1 and warned that the Europa League Conference League qualifier is only at the halfway stage.
After a goalless first half at Easter Road in the first leg of the third qualifying round, Joe Newell put Hibs in front with a well-taken strike. Luzern equalised through Ismajl Beka’s header.
Dylan Vente, making his debut for Hibs, put the hosts ahead again before a late Jordan Obita goal opened up a two-goal advantage.
That makes Hibs favourite to progress to face Aston Villa in the play-off, though JOhnson warned the job wasn’t complete.
“It’s half-time. I said in Andorra when we lost 2-1 (against Inter d’Escaldes) that it was half-time and I’ll say that now when we’ve got a plus-two lead.
“I really like Luzern. They’re a real quality side – brilliant in terms of that education for the club, for myself, for the players.
“And I was really proud today, for the whole club. We took a bit of stick, and rightly so, for our first-half performance (in the 3-2 defeat to St Mirren).
“But that’s what Hibs is about. The crowd were up – 13,000 felt like 25,000 – the boys were making big tackles, they had pressure on everywhere.
“But we’ve got to do that in every game. That’s a marker now for this group.
“I honestly think it’s nowhere near done, genuinely. I think they’re a really good side. They’ve got threats and quality everywhere.
“We’re extremely proud tonight but nothing is done in the tie.”
Johnson was particularly pleased to see Vente get off the mark quickly after finally completing his move from Roda JC.
“I’m delighted for Dylan. I was getting a bit of stick before the game about the team selection, and I was quite surprised. I thought it was quite a bold one.
“Dylan was excellent. Obviously he had a goal and an assist. But, for me, I thought it was more about his work-rate and how hard he worked.
“I thought him and Adam Le Fondre worked their socks off and they’re dangerous.”
Luzern manager Mario Frick said his side have left themselves with a lot to do to turn the tie around.
“Can we progress in the second leg? Not if we play like today. We have to get back to our real game to have a chance.
“It’s not impossible but it’s a very difficult situation.”