Hibs were made to battle all the way by Dundee this afternoon at The Scot Foam Stadium before claiming all three points with a fantastic 2-1 victory.
Jair Tavares and Lewis Miller had us 2-0 up and in a comfortable position after an hour, before Miller picked up a second yellow card moments after scoring to make it a tricky final 30 minutes with 10-men.
Owen Beck pulled one back for Tony Docherty’s side with five minutes remaining however we stood tall against intense pressure to see the game out and claim a vital victory that moves us up into fifth place in the cinch Premiership.
As it happened...
Nick Montgomery named an unchanged side following our victory over Kilmarnock before the international break.
Christian Doidge returned to the matchday squad following a spell on the sidelines through injury and he took his place amongst the substitutes.
Dundee was also unchanged from their last outing and went into this match having kept five clean sheets in their last six games.
Despite that impressive defensive record from today’s hosts, we put them to the test early on with our first effort at goal coming inside two minutes when Miller and Martin Boyle linked down the right flank before Dylan Vente had an effort blocked on the edge of the box.
We appeared to have a decent claim for a spot kick when Miller was upended by a clumsy challenge from Amadou Bakayoko inside the box following Joe Newell’s corner kick, however, match official - Don Robertson - was unmoved by our appeals.
We kept going and on 13 minutes Jair got in behind Antonio Portales on the left before squaring to Josh Campbell only for the midfielder to send his snapshot wide of the target from close range.
The opening quarter-of-an-hour was one-way traffic yet we almost gifted Dundee a goal when a poor clearance led to Bakayoko being sent clean through and with only David Marshall to beat, the striker attempted to lob the goalkeeper but his poor finish was off-target.
We made Dundee pay for that costly miss by opening the scoring just seconds later when Jair spun away from his man before sending Vente off and running down the left; he looked up and his cross was dummied by Campbell for Jair to fire low into Trevor Carson’s net from 12 yards.
Jair’s second goal for the Club was the culmination of a wonderful team goal that sliced Dundee’s defence wide open and was celebrated wildly by the 1,700 travelling Hibees housed in The Bob Shankly Stand.
Dundee had taken a while to get going but grew into the match and began to assert some pressure of their own.
We were guilty of overplaying at the back on 21 minutes which allowed Dundee to break on us with Luke McCowan running onto Bakayoko’s lay-off and drawing a good save from Marshall at his near post.
Soon after McCowan had another opportunity when he ran onto Zak Rudden’s flick and was denied by a point-blank save from Marshall.
Marshall was again called into action to hold an acrobatic effort from Bakayoko as Dundee finished the half strongly and we were happy to hear the half-time whistle.
Dundee started the second half as they finished the first by pushing for an equaliser whilst we remained a potent threat on the counterattack.
On 51 minutes, Vente did well to get in behind Beck and from his cut back Boyle saw an effort deflected just wide of the target.
We doubled our lead soon after when Miller rose highest to power in a header from Newell’s corner kick to leave Carson helpless.
Things were looking good for us, however, the momentum shifted just moments later when Miller pulled back Beck on the edge of our area and picked up a second yellow card.
Reduced to ten men, boss Montgomery replaced Vente with Paul Hanlon to help solidify our defence and with half an hour still to play it was always going to be a stiff test of our boys' resolve to hold out.
Dundee piled on the pressure and it took a huge save from Marshall to keep them at bay when Bakayoko’s shot from 12 yards was deflected a point-blank range by Rikki Lamie and the goalkeeper made a reaction stop.
The impressive Luke McCowan then tried his luck with a shot from 18 yards that was deflected just over the crossbar by Will Fish.
We were camped out in two banks of four just in front of our 18-yard line at times as Dundee continued to be a threat, particularly from set-pieces. From one of those, Beck’s lay off to McCowan was crossed for Joe Shaughnessy to head onto the roof of the net with the goal at his mercy.
The hosts did finally reduce the deficit with five minutes remaining when Becks slotted home from close range after his initial shot had been saved by Marshall.
Little had been seen from us in an attacking sense after going down to ten men yet, we did have a good chance on the break when clever play from substitute Elie Youan teed up Jair only for his rising effort to sail over the crossbar.
There were six minutes of additional time and Dundee - to their credit – threw everything at us with Marshall denying McCowan, Rocky blocking a Scott Tiffoney effort and Boateng shooting over in the closing.
However, no matter what Dundee threw at us, we were resolute and held on to claim three valuable points on the road and in doing so sent the large travelling support home happy.
Dundee: Carson, McGhee, Portales, Shaughnessy, Lamie (Reilly 70’), Beck, Camerson, Boateng, McCowan, Bakayoko (Robinson 75’), Rudden (Tiffoney 75’). Substitutes not used: Legzdins, Kerr, Robertson, Howley, Donnelly, Sylla.
Hibernian: Marshall, Miller, Fish, Rocky, Obita, Campbell (Youan 57’), Levitt (Jeggo 57’), Newell, Jair, Boyle (Doidge 75’), Vente (Hanlon 64’). Substitutes not used: Wollacott, Harbottle, Molotnikov, Whittaker, Landers.
Referee: Don Robertson.