HULL CITY cast aside their September torment in sensational fashion with a six-goal blitzing of troubled Birmingham - on a near-perfect afternoon.
Fraizer Campbell set the tone with his first home goal in Hull colours in nine-and-a-half years and there was also a landmark maiden goal for the club from Seb Larsson, with devastating wingers Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki also finding the net alongside David Meyler and Marcus Henriksen - on an afternoon when six different Tigers players found the net.
The dark clouds may have been gathering out east in a footballing sense following a Tigers run of five losses in their last eight Championship games, but on the evidence of a thoroughly dominant first half from the outstanding hosts, it was apparent that the problems all belonged to Birmingham, by the lorry load.
Hull, fielding a fluid 4-2-3-1 system, were magnificent in a display full of pace, urgency and quality, albeit against a visiting side who were shambolic in central midfield and at the back at times.
It yielded three home goals and could easily have been two or three more, such was Hull’s dominance.
The fun began on seven minutes when Meyler dispossessed a dithering David Davis, with Campbell sent clear and he coolly steered the ball low past Tomasz Kuszczak for his landmark goal.
Campbell was also heavily involved in the build-up to Hull’s second just four minutes later with the striker clumsily brought down by Emilio Nsue who went into the back of him with Scott Duncan pointing to the spot, with Meyler blasting powerfully to Kuszczak’s right, even though the Blues keeper guessed right.
A Campbell header then grazed the bar before the irresistible hosts added a third on 26 minutes when Bowen netted with a blistering low 25-yarder after being allowed to run unchecked deep into Blues territory.
After a dominant first period, the game was effectively over as a contest and it eventually turned into a procession for Hull in the final quarter with Blues capitulating totally.
Their fourth arrived on 72 minutes when substitute Nouha Dicko got away down the right before the ball found its way to Grosicki and with Blues at sixes and sevens, the winger emphatically drilled the ball home.
Soon after, it was five with a polished team move finished by Henriksen and there was time for Larsson to add a late sixth against one of his former employers following another flowing work from the hosts.
Blues sub Sam Gallagher headed a stoppage-time consolation, which diverted in off Michael Dawson.
Ahead of the game, much had been made of Hull’s penchant for slow starters of late, but they answered that charge with a resounding performance from the off, setting the tone for a memorable afternoon.
Confidence oozed through Hull’s veins after their opener, with their 4-2-3-1 system working a treat against a disheveled looking Blues side, whose new manager Steve Cotterill has a mountain of work on this evidence.
For Leonid Slutsky, there was a timely fillip ahead of the international break with his side back on track following a free-flowing performance at just the right juncture.
Slutsky, who apologised to fans for the midweek defeat to Preston, said: “It’s very difficult speaking about one or two players, our plan worked.
“We played very solid and we kept our high level all match and the result was coming.
“It was a really good performance, I think each supporter was happy and that’s my first target because I’m very thankful for the supporters for their support.
“If we didn’t concede, we would have thought about six-nil, an unbelievable result. But now we have a question and now we must continue to work very hard.”
Hull City: McGregor; Aina, Dawson, Hector, Clark; Meyler, Larsson; Bowen (Weir 82), Toral (Henriksen 69), Grosicki; Campbell (Dicko 70). Substitutes unused: Mannion, Mazuch, Tomori, Irvine.
Birmingham City: Kuszczak; Nsue, Morrison, Dean, Collin; Maghoma (Cotterill 61), Davis, Gardner (Vassell 45), Ndoye, Boga; Jutkiewicz (Gallagher 61). Substitutes unused: Trueman, Roberts, Grounds, Gleeson.
Referee: S Duncan (Northumberland).