Sat 11 Nov 2023
Hibernian vs Kilmarnock
HT 1-0
Hibernian Hibernian
Kilmarnock Kilmarnock FC
Match Report

We got back to winning ways by defeating a dogged Kilmarnock side 1-0 in the cinch Premiership.

Josh Campbell’s fifth goal of the season was all that separated the sides at full-time however the final score does little to evidence our dominance in this one.

The victory also extends our unbeaten run over the Rugby Park side in Leith to ten games – a run that stretches back to 2014.

Nick Montgomery made two changes from the side that started against St Mirren in midweek with Martin Boyle and Lewis Miller returning to the XI.

Elie Youan and Rory Whittaker dropped down to the bench as Joe Newell once more led the boys out to vociferous support at Easter Road.

Before the game, both teams and sets of supporters observed a minute's silence on remembrance weekend.

Jair Tavares had been in impressive form and he almost carved out something special after only three minutes when he chopped inside Robbie Deas and was just off target with a curling effort from the edge of the box that had Will Dennis beaten had it been on target.

We had the ball in the back of the Kilmarnock net sixty seconds later when Boyle latched onto Campbell’s through ball to score, only for the offside flag to curb his celebration.

Kilmarnock were organised and competitive and it was easy to see why they have done well this season. They perhaps should have done better with their first effort on goal when Liam Donnelly took down Danny Armstrong’s corner kick delivery at the back post before spinning and shooting high over the crossbar from close range.

It then took a stunning last-gasp tackle from Stuart Findlay to thwart Boyle as he raced through on goal after dispossessing Donnelly on halfway. Findlay did brilliantly to not only match Boyle for pace but also to shrug him off and win possession as the attacker appeared certain to score.

Nonetheless, Boyle was certainly in the mood and causing Kilmarnock problems across their backline. On 35 minutes, he was instrumental in the opening goal as he spun away from Deas and slipped the ball through to Campbell before being clattered by Donnelly, with the midfielder delivering a composed finish to notch his fifth goal of the campaign.

We could have increased our advantage before the interval when Jordan Obita’s pin-point cross from the left found Dylan Vente drifting in between two Killie defenders, however the striker’s glancing header was saved by Dennis.

Derek McInnes’ response was to replace Donnelly with Matty Kennedy for the second half which started scrappily with neither side able to assert any real dominance over the other.

On 67 minutes, there was a poignant minute’s applause to remember Hibs supporter, Ian Berwick, who sadly passed away after our Viaplay Cup Semi-Final at Hampden.

There had been little goalmouth activity to warm either set of supporters during a bitterly cold second half in Leith, yet Jair almost produced a moment of magic when his left foot shot from 22-yards was pushed around the post by the fingertips of Dennis.

Given recent results there was a nervousness around our play going into the closing stages as we attempted to see the match out.

It took Kilmarnock until the 83rd minute to register a shot on target as David Watson cut inside off the left flank onto his right foot, however his effort was straight at David Marshall who gathered easily.

At the other end Campbell and Youan combined on the edge of the Killie box with the former watching his powerful drive be beaten away by Dennis at his near post.

With three minutes of regulation time remaining, Killie made a triple change and two of those substitutes combined to almost snatch a dramatic late leveller as Andrew Dallas’ cross was diverted goalward by Rory McKenzie and Marshall made a stunning reflex save at his near post to keep him out.

The referee’s final whistle brought relief around Easter Road as we held on to claim three valuable points and get back to winning ways.

Hibernian: Marshall, Miller, Fish, Levitt (Jeggo 68’), Vente (Youan 55‘), Boyle, Newell, Obita, Jair (Stevenson 92’), Campbell, Rocky. Substitutes not used: Wollacott, Hanlon, Harbottle, Delferriere, Whittaker, Landers.

Kilmarnock: Dennis, Wright, Mayo, Deas (Davies 87’), Lyons, Armstrong (Murray 87’), Watson (McKenzie 87’), Findlay, Donnelly (Kennedy 46’), Watkins, Polworth (Dallas 75’). Substitutes not used: Glavin, Sanders, Cameron, Warnock.

Referee: David Dickinson.

Attendance: 16,250.