Hibernian make a big deal of claiming to be the ‘greenest' club in Scotland but Easter Road was well and truly painted Tangerine last night as Dundee United produced a vibrant display to sweep to victory.

The Easter Road side were hailed as potential challengers to champions Rangers before losing at Ibrox on their last outing. However, it was United who proved their credentials to dish out an afternoon to forget for the home side. The winds of change appear to be blowing around Tayside.

The visitors were first to loose balls and slicker in possession throughout, and their defence - which boasts the meanest record in the top-flight - was resolute when called upon. When Nicky Clark curled in the opener just before the break there was no surprise.

The start to the second period was crucial as Hibs tried to find a foothold in a match that always looked in danger of slipping away, right from the opening exchanges. However, Ryan Edwards’ towering header quickly doubled United’s lead and made Hibs’ already-difficult task a mountainous one.

Kieran Freeman’s late third was the icing on the cake for the Tayside outfit, who moved up to third in the table after a fifth league game without defeat.

“The longer we work together, the better an understanding that the players have got of what is expected of them from a shape and formation perspective,” said Courts. “The boys are giving it absolutely everything for each other so it’s nice to see them getting a reward.

“I don’t really pay attention to the league table because what we are trying to do is be mindful of our own targets. So the weekly league position is not really what we are paying attention to.

“But I think the fans are enjoying first and foremost the players being committed to each other who are giving absolutely everything, regardless of whether they are playing against teams at the top or bottom.

“Their efforts and energy levels are through the roof every game and that's the minimum that the fans expect. And the fans are responding to the effort and it's good to send them away happy."

Hibs were sluggish from the off and struggled to find any rhythm to their play. Misplaced passes coughed up possession too easily and Scotland striker Kevin Nisbet was an isolated figure in attack. After his globetrotting efforts with Australia, Martin Boyle was another for whom things just did not click.

By contrast, United were relentless with their energy, desire and quality. Courts’ game-plan worked perfectly by nullifying Hibs’ threats but by also giving his players the licence to attack with freedom.

They did so just short of the break to find the opener their first-half play merited. There appeared little on despite some patient probing, but Clark took over and lashed a superb shot into the bottom corner.

Changes were needed in the home camp but James Scott’s introduction for Scott Allan had little time to have any effect before United doubled their advantage. A corner was cleared but fell back into the visitors’ possession and Scott McMann’s cross was thumped into the net by Edwards’ towering header.

That was well and truly game over, despite all Hibs’ huffing and puffing. Things went from bad to even worse, however, with a third United goal 16 minutes from time. Seizing on a loose ball, within moments they had worked their way into the home area with fantastic interplay and Freeman swept in the finish the move deserved.

Hibs came into the season aiming to at least match last term’s third place and cup exploits but Ross delivered a scathing rebuke of their efforts in succumbing to consecutive defeats after opening the campaign with an impressive unbeaten run.

“It was the worst version of ourselves,” he said. “We strive a lot to be the best version but today we were lazy, slow and selfish in our play. When you do that you produce that type of performance and subsequently the result.

“I’ve no qualms over the result. We deserved to lose the game and we deserved to lose it in that manner. It was way below the standards we’ve been at for a long time, and now we’ve got to respond to that.

“Don’t dramatise it. Lazy is an expression to say they haven’t worked hard enough, and I’ve told them that. I’m just giving an answer to the question, because they didn’t work hard enough in all aspects of their play.

“Why? That’s the question I’ll have to find the answer to over the course of the week. It was just way below the standards we’ve been at and have been fairly consistently.”