Carlisle Utd 3 Hibernian 4: If Hallam Hope’s days at Carlisle United are numbered, then this was the way to leave supporters with maximum regrets. He scored a brilliant pre-season goal just at the time suitors are circling for last season’s top scorer.

If Blackpool and others were watching, they can only have been impressed. United will be entitled to add a few quid to the asking price on the evidence of his excellent, edge-of-the-area strike which left Hibs keeper Ofir Marciano clawing at Cumbrian air.

Hope’s goal stole the show on an intriguing first run-out for Steven Pressley’s new signings, trialists and home-grown players, as well as the handful of senior survivors from last term. Their first-half team included five summer additions plus two trialists: Isaac Buckley-Ricketts, the former Manchester City winger, and a striker not officially named by the Blues, but understood to be Miles Storey, with other new boys and hopefuls appearing after the break.

Carlisle’s incomplete squad also saw gaps filled by three of their youth team who, when they came on later in the game, were bright, before Hibs overpowered them from 3-1 down.

This being the earliest of six pre-season tests, it may be too early for alarm at the lack of senior numbers. But still: the team-sheet showed what is lacking, what is needed. What may also leave, if Hope is taken elsewhere.

Byron Webster, clearly an early candidate for the captaincy, led out this mid-rebuild United at Brunton Park for the first time since April 27. Of the XI who started against Crawley that day, only Mike Jones remained in the side (Hope, Stefan Scougall and Adam Collin were also in the squad).

Hibs’ vocal fans, more than a thousand of them, occupied the Pioneer Stand and had a few songs for ex-Hearts favourite Pressley. Their team, further down their own pre-season road, began sharper, as Daryll Horgan, Stephen Mallan and Darren McGregor had early chances.

Carlisle, though, grew into things, rookie Jarrad Branthwaite impressively composed at right-back and Webster taking a natural command at centre-back alongside Jon Mellish.

There was a glimmer of an opening for Carlisle when Harry McKirdy, who showed good pace from the left, killed a fine Webster ball, beat his man and tested keeper Marciano, other times when McKirdy seemed to hit the turf too easily in search of penalties while, from this fitness exercise, a few more highlights: 17-year-old Branthwaite showing versatility and looking comfortable throughout, another youngster in Josh Dixon tidy in midfield and United, in general, trying to play the right way, even as they lacked the substance of a No9.

Storey held the ball up well at times and brought others into play, but did not enjoy any serious scoring chances. Hibs came close when Joe Newell rifled wide, and closer when Florian Kamberi went through to be denied by a well-timed Mellish tackle. When new left-back Jack Iredale attached a better final ball to his latest dash up that side for United, McKirdy clipped it wide. Then came a shot that could barely breathe under a pile of pre-season rust: an airborne slice from Hibs’ Josh Campbell which turned into a pass to himself before Mellish tidied up.

The opening goal was the opposite of this wayward work, and when Jack Bridge got enough space to shoot, it was pleasing to see how accurately he drilled it through Marciano’s grasp and into the net.

A few minutes later, keeper Louis Gray spared Bridge, after the midfielder had been dispossessed, by saving well from Kamberi. Next time, though, the Swiss forward was clinical, equalising with a crisp finish when slotted through.

United introduced more new faces after the break, including Christie Elliott, Nathaniel Knight-Percival and trialists Tyrone Duffus and Elliott Reeves, while giving Mellish a run at left-back and the likes of Buckley-Ricketts, who flitted in and out of things, a little extra time.

It was another half-time arrival, though, who announced himself, Hope landing a brilliant, dipping strike from Scougall’s pass, then denied another by Marciano. Of the other second-half additions, Elliott looked enterprising from right-back and Reeves led the line gamely, as Duffus found it harder to impose authority at centre-back.

Pressley brought on four more youngsters on the hour and two of them swiftly helped make it three for United, as Jamie Armstrong crossed and Keighran Kerr’s flick was shinned into his own net by McGregor.

The sight of more of Carlisle’s teenage prospects influencing a game against good-level opposition will have encouraged Pressley, and United's supporters. Hibs, though, closed the game the better against this now much rawer home side. They pulled one back when United struggled to deal with a ball forward and Scott Allan eventually rifled home.

They then nearly equalised through Ryan Moon – Gray saving well – but then did when Christian Doidge headed home a corner.

The thousand Edinburgh travellers then had the final cheer when Campbell slotted home, leaving Carlisle to reflect on their better, earlier work than the late, lopsided finish.

United (first half): Gray, Branthwaite, Iredale, Mellish, Webster, Branthwaite, Jones, Dixon, Bridge, Buckley-Ricketts, McKirdy, Trialist. (Second half): Gray, Elliott, Duffus, Mellish (Birch 46), Knight-Percival, Dixon (Armstrong 46), Bridge (Charters 46), Scougall, Buckley-Ricketts (Kerr 46), Hope, Reeves. Not used: Collin.

Goals: Bridge 30, Hope 47, McGregor 67og

Hibernian: Marciano, James, McGregor, Jackson, Mackie (Doig 80), Mallan (Stirling 66), Horgan (Murray 60), Campbell, Kamberi (Doidge 60), Shaw (Allan 46), Newell (Moon 46). Not used: Maxwell, Sadiki.

Goals: Kamberi 37, Allan 73, Doidge 87, Campbell 90

Crowd: 2,631 (1,065 Hibs fans)