Devlin McKay, Taylor Queen, Sam Lidington, Karleigh Osborne, Lewis Clark, Thomas Dempsie (Jack Paterson 61), Jack Whittaker, Dean Hawkshaw, William Graham (Aiden Wilson 66), Adam Frizzell, Scott McLean.
Subs Not Used: Curtis Lyle, Oliver McDonald, Darren Curtis, Ewan McLevy.
Patrick Martin, Callum Donaldson, Calum Crane (Adam Watson 23), Brian McLean, Kevin Waugh, Ben Stirling, Innes Murray, Scott Martin, Jamie Gullan, Danny Handling, Fraser Murray (Sean Mackie 70).
Subs Not Used: Maciej Dabrowski.
Gary Kirkpatrick @ Rugby Park
Two excellent second half strikes helped Hibs come from a goal behind to secure victory against an inconsistent Killie team in a low-key league encounter at Rugby Park. Killie dominated the majority of the opening period after Jack Whittaker’s header from winger Scott McLean’s lovely delivery gave the Ayrshire side a half time advantage. But the boys from the capital proved their title-winning credentials with a spirited second half showing which proved to be the difference between the two teams in the end.
The home side played some good stuff throughout but couldn’t open up a comfortable lead heading into the interval. We always seemed susceptible to concede and unfortunately we did just that - not once but twice. Hibs deserved to win and while they did not pose much of a threat in attack for most of the match, they made up for it with two lovely curling efforts, both of which were totally unsaveable.
The match kicked off with intensity and fight, suggesting the type of game about to unfold. But it didn’t last for too long as both teams registered just a handful of attempts on goal all evening. Despite this, we opened the scoring after seven minutes. McLean found space on the right and dug out a well-executed cross which Whittaker connected with and nodded past keeper Patrick Martin.
Hibs only tested Killie’s Devlin Mackay in goals once in the first forty-five, with the big keeper denying Danny Handling from close range after some neat footwork from the striker. Killie controlled the game well and headed into the break without allowing their opponents with too much time on the ball and opportunities in the final third. But whatever the coaching quad of Grant Murray, Alan Combe, Grant Holt and Colin Nish told their boys at half time, it worked absolute wonders as Killie gradually lost their grip of the match.
After threatening through Innes Murray’s tight-angled shot and Adam Watson’s charging run into the box, only to be stopped by Thomas Dempsie, Hibs pulled one back. Handling picked up the ball from twenty yards and with all the time in the world, he bent his shot with a touch of finesse past the outstretching Mackay to level things up. We brought on centre-back Aidan Wilson for forward Will Graham to tighten things up at the back in a move engineered by the expected waves of attacking pressure from the away side.
The only real opportunity we mustered up in the second period was on 72 minutes when first team player Karleigh Osbourne volleyed just wide after a route-one ball from Sam Lidington. Then minutes later, Hibs scored what was essentially the inevitable second goal, this time via substitute Sean Mackie’s super strike from roughly 20 yards out. That effectively killed the game because we had very few efforts on goal prior to the goal.
The game fizzled out as Hibs kept possession and saw the game out without any issues. Taylor Queen and goal-scorer Whittaker picked up bookings, both in frustration for throwing away a lead. Killie remain in 12th spot in the Development League as Hibs move up a couple of places into third. Our next match is away to 15th placed Dundee United on Tuesday 28th March at 7pm.
All images © Gary Kirkpatrick and should not be reproduced without his permission