By: Hibernian Media on 11 May, 2019 20:03
A disputed Eamonn Brophy penalty was enough to settle a typically tight meeting between Hibernian and Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.
Paul Heckingbottom made two changes to his starting line-up, with Hibernian Academy graduate Fraser Murray handed his first start of the season and Flo Kamberi also reintroduced.
Daryl Horgan and Ryan Gauld made way for the pair.
Ofir Marciano was called into action early on to deal with a firm strike from Alex Bruce, which he gathered at the second attempt.
At the other end, Marc McNulty and Stephane Omeonga combined well before laying the ball into the path of Kamberi, but Greg Taylor was alert to cut out the danger.
With 20 minutes on the clock, Omeonga was involved again, cutting in from the left to curl a shot that was easily dealt with by Daniel Bachmann.
The hosts edged closer, with Brophy blazing over and Taylor’s attempted cross bouncing back off Marciano’s bar.
Marciano displayed his incredible reflexes again on the half-hour mark to tip Alan Power’s header round the post – drawing applause from home and away supporters alike.
Killie, though, were not to be denied and took the lead from the spot a couple of minutes later.
Alex Bruce hit the deck, with referee Andrew Dallas apportioning blame to David Gray and Brophy made no mistake with the penalty.
The Scotland Under-21 striker blew the chance to double their lead when put through one on one but he dragged his effort wide.
Heckingbottom rolled the dice with a triple substitution after 65 minutes – with Horgan, Oli Shaw and Thomas Agyepong on in place of Kamberi, Marc McNulty and Omeonga.
Shaw threatened after indecision between Bachmann and Bruce but the keeper eventually took charge of the situation.
With a couple of minutes left on the clock it looked like Agyepong had snatched a late leveller, after he jinked his way in from the left before unleashing a ferocious strike.
Bachmann, however, was in fine form and somehow tipped over to secure all three points for his team.
Kilmarnock: Bachmann, O’Donnell, Bruce, Findlay (Boyd 87), Taylor, Mulumbu, Dicker, Power, Burke (Millar 79), Brophy (McAleny 79), McKenzie. Substitutes not used: MacDonald, Ndjoli, Waters, Millen.
Hibernian: Marciano, Gray, McGregor, Hanlon, Stevenson, F. Murray, Mallan, Milligan, Omeonga (Horgan 65), Kamberi (Agyepong 65), McNulty (Shaw 65). Substitutes not used: Bogdan, Bartley, Gauld, Spector.
Referee: Andrew Dallas.