It seemed the perfect set-up. McCann against the club who sacked him without merit just a month ago turned up at London Road without a win in five Championship games and with a bunch of forwards unavailable.
And yet Hull City still strolled to a 3-0 win as Posh delivered the performance of a team who know they are down. Winning this game probably wouldn’t have altered that fact, but you never know. Barnsley looked doomed a fortnight ago, but two wins in a row have given them hope, and sent Posh to the bottom of the table.
They’ll struggle to finish anywhere else on this showing.
McCann’s first Posh selection included two changes from the team that started against Fulham on Wednesday. Jack Marriott and Callum Morton replaced Jorge Grant and Jonson Clarke-Harris.
It was a positive line-up with Sammie Szmodics also selected.
Hull were shorn of strikers with Tyler Smith the only fit forward starting. Inevitably he claimed his first Championship goal of the season in the 25th minute to give the Tigers the half-time lead they deserved.
Harrison Burrows, who rather suprisingly spent the majority of the first-half as a right wingback, lost possession, a left-wing cross was allowed to come in and Smith nipped in between dithering Posh ‘keeper Steven Benda and central defenders Ronnie Edwards and Frankie Kent to poke home from close range.
Burrows had been robbed of the ball minutes earlier by Brandon Fleming, but he delayed his cross so long Kent was able to cover and clear.
Another threat from the left arrived a couple of minutes after the goal. Benda kicked the cross against Smith, but the ball rebounded kindly into the goalkeeper’s hands.
On 34 minutes Keane Lewis-Potter danced past a couple of defenders and set up Greg Docherty for a sidefoot finish from the edge of the area which he directed straight at Benda.
Posh offered virtually nothing in return. Wing-backs were back along with three centre-backs to mark one forward. Hull dominated midfield areas as a result.
Szmodics was deployed behind Morton and Marriot and was busy and determined, but nothing was created. Long balls forward were easily won by three powerful centre-backs with the loose ball inevitably picked up by a visitor.
Only when a corner eventually landed at Joe Ward’s feet 25 yards from goal was there a murmur of excitement from the home crowd. His shot was well struck, but also well blocked.
Posh changed nothing at the break with sadly predictable results. Hull continued to dominate, Posh struggled to clear their lines and punishment arrived on 51 minutes when Ward lost possession and the excellent Lewis-Potter smashed home emphatically from 25 yards.
Lewis-Potter then teed up Richard Smallwood on the edge of the area following a poor pass from Ronnie Edwards, but his shot flashed wide.
Posh huffed and puffed. They made three substitutions and two of them, Hayden Coulson and Ricky-Jade Jones, could at least walk off the pitch at the end with heads held high. They played with energy and good quality. They were the only two to combine the two effectively.
The third replacement, Jorge Grant, promptly lost the ball on halfway and watched as Lewis-Potter streaked away to poke the ball between Benda’s legs for 3-0 20 minutes from time.
Szmodics had a chance from a Kent cross, but his left-foot shot was weak and poorly directed.
Hull coasted through the last 20 minutes with their fans taunting McCann with chants of ‘you’re getting sacked in the morning.’
Unnecessary and unfair, but if McCann didn’t know how tough this job will be, even in League One, he does now.
Posh: Steven Benda, Harrison Burrows (sub Hayden Coulson, 59 mins), Frankie Kent, Ronnie Edwards, Josh Knight, Joe Ward, Oliver Norburn, Reece Brown (sub Jorge Grant, 64 mins), Sammie Szmodics, Jack Marriott (sub Ricky-Jade Jones, 59 mins), Callum Morton.
Unused subs: Dai Cornell, Bali Mumba, Jeando Fuchs, Jonson Clarke-Harris.
Hull: Matt Ingram, Brandon Fleming, Jacob Greaves, Sean McLoughlin, Alfie Jones, Richard Smallwood, Regan Slater, Greg Docherty (sub Tom Huddlestone, 84 mins), Keane Lewis-Potter, George Honeyman (sub LIam Walsh, 46 mins), Tyler Smith (sub Mallik Wilks, 84 mins).
Unused subs: Harvey Cartwright, Ryan Longman, George Moncur, Di’shon Bernard, Liam Walsh.
Goals: Hull - Smith (25 mins), Lewis -Potter (51 mins & 69 mims).
Cautions: Posh - Szmodics (foul), Brown (foul), Knight (foul).
Referee: Tony Harrington 6