Accies media team reporter Mark Gillespie was at Easter Road on Saturday….
Easter Road Stadium, Edinburgh
on Saturday, 20th February, 2021, kick off 3pm
Hibernian 2 Hamilton Academical 0
We arrived in the capital on good form and had started well, but Jamie Hamilton’s very early red card was to be the game’s big moment. Martin Boyle soon fired the hosts in front, as the 10 Accies tried to match up. For almost an hour Brian Rice’s side did just that, giving Hibs plenty to think about, before Josh Doig made sure of the points with 20 minutes left.
We remain in eleventh spot going into a 10 day break. The manager agrees the sending off was a big factor in the result but draws positives from the performance.
Brian Rice: “We’re disappointed to lose the game to a Hibs team deservedly third in the league. It shows you where we are right now. We kept two men up the pitch at all times and we had a go. I’m so proud of the boys. We started fantastically well and for 75 minutes gave Hibs a run for their money”, he said post-match.
“I’m not going to argue about the sending off. I’m not going to get myself into trouble. My boys need me by the side of the pitch. The referee’s made his decision with the help of his assistant. But it changed the course of the game 100 per cent.”
“It’s been a tough with four games in 13 days, three of them away from home. We’ve now got 10 days to regroup and freshen up. Maybe a bit of fatigue caught up with Marios Ogkmpoe when he came off. I thought David Moyo came on and was excellent, along with a couple of the young lads who came on towards the end.”
Scott Martin replaced his injured namesake Aaron in the only change to the side from the midweek draw at Paisley, his first start since injury before Christmas. There was likewise only one change to the Hibs side, Joe Newell depriving Alex Gogic of a start against his former team mates.
On the back of good form, Accies set out positively,with two up top and the two wing backs pushing up. Scott McMann had the first sight of goal on 4 minutes, his low driven effort tipped behind by Marciano. The Hibs ‘keeper held on as Scott Martin had a go from the resulting corner on the edge of the box.
The opening 10 was to be all Accies, and we struck the woodwork on eight minutes, Ogkmpoe dispossessing Josh Doig on the edge of the box but his shot deflecting onto Marciano’s left hand post.
Accies were on top, but that all changed three minutes later. Hibs launched a high ball into the Accies half, and Hamilton’s challenge on Martin Boyle 35 yards out was deemed serious foul play. The Accies defender saw a straight red, and almost straight away Boyle was firing his side in front with a bouncing shot from long range past Fulton.
The 10 Accies readjusted, Odoffin stepping back into a back four. But there was more tinkering needed as we made another enforced change on 22 minutes, Ogkmpoe taking a knock and replaced by David Moyo.
We looked less of an attacking force as Hibs surged forward looking for the two goal cushion. It was beginning to look like one of those days, as they won a penalty on 32 minutes. Boyle launched a high corner into the box, with Christian Doidge going down under Brian Easton’s challenge. No one appealed, but the ref had no doubts. Ryan Fulton guessed right to push Boyle’s spot kick wide, great save..
The 10 men just about hung in there going into half time, the hosts passing up another big chance as Boyle cut back for Chris Cadden who could only blast high and wide of the open goal.
Accies hadn’t seen much of the Hibs goal since the red and Ogkmpoe’s injury, but the lively Bruce Anderson linked up with Moyo on 52 minutes, his powerful low strike held by Marciano, as we kept with two strikers up top.
Fulton had kept us in it at the other end, with stops from Cadden and Darren MacGregor. But he was helpless on 69 minutes as Boyle skipped to the bye line, his cross deflecting off Odoffin to present Doig with the easiest of headers from close range.
Hibs: Marciano, P McGinn, McGregor, Hanlon, Cadden, Newell (Gogic, 83), Irvine, Doig (Stevenson, 83), Murphy (Nisbett, 63), Boyle, Doidge (Allan, 75); Subs Unused: Macey, Gray, Porteous, Wright, Hallberg,
Goals: Boyle, 12, Doig, 69
Accies: Fulton, Odoffin, McMann, Easton (c), Hamilton, Anderson (Hughes, 74) , S Martin (C Smith, 78 ), Ogkmpoe (Moyo, 22), Trafford (Mimnaugh, 74) , Hodson, Callachan; Subs Unused: Gourlay, Stirling, Want, Winter, Munro
Bookings: Easton, 76
Red Card: Hamilton, 11
Referee: Craig Napier; Assistants: Graeme Stewart and Alastair Mather; 4th Official: Euan Anderson