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OPENING DAYS | HIBERNIAN 2-2 KILMARNOCK (2001)

OPENING DAYS | HIBERNIAN 2-2 KILMARNOCK (2001)

By: Hibernian Media on 12 Jun, 2018 14:00

Our opening day fixture will be announced on the morning of Friday 15 June, so we are taking a look at some of our first matches of the league campaign from years gone by.

Yesterday, we took a look at our 3-1 win at home to Partick Thistle and today we will be looking at our 2-2 draw with Kilmarnock in 2001.

The old West Stand was knocked down in the early stages of the year and replaced with the new structure today, which was used in a competitive game for the first time against Bobby Williamson’s Kilmarnock in July that year.

In the 2000/01 season, Hibernian finished third whilst Kilmarnock finished in fourth place, with many tipping this to be an exciting game – they were to be proved correct.

The visitors from Ayrshire drew first blood when Michel Ngonge was able to drive beyond the home defence and the Democratic Republic of Congo international calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net with just four minutes gone.

It was hardly the start Alex McLeish would have envisaged for his side in front of a crowd of 12,717, but his team rallied in an attempt to equalise. Debutant Craig Brewster came close to beating Gordon Marshall when his volley dipped just wide of the upright.

A leveller did come in the 39th minute via the penalty spot. A cross from Ulrik Laursen saw Paco Luna, another player making his first start for the club, upended by Marshall in the box and a spot-kick given. Franck Sauzee calmly leathered the ball into the top right corner, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.

Despite clawing themselves back on level terms the side were 2-1 down at the break as the unmarked Christophe Cocard slammed in at the back-post after the ball had bobbled across the box.

In the second half, a great chance went begging after Ulises de la Cruz sprinted down the right-wing and cut the ball back for Luna, with the Spaniard unable to beat Marshall from close range.

The second equalising goal did come in the 82nd minute when David Zitelli’s whipped corner was headed into the net by Laursen to claim a point for his McLeish’s men.

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