Easter Road, Edinburgh
Tuesday 3rd April 2018 at 7.45pm.
Hibernian 3 Hamilton Academical 1
A Florian Kamberi hat trick gave Hibernian their first victory in a while against Accies, with the home side eventually cruising to a fifth win on the bounce. Results elsewhere meant we remained ninth, as the league table below began to tighten up as County put Thistle to the sword in Dingwall.
Accies looked to end their three-game winless streak, hoping for a repeat of the 3-1 victory at Easter Road back in August. Marios Ogkmpoe gave some early hope of a win, but it only seemed to spark Hibs and Kamberi into action. The job became all the more difficult when Dougie Imrie was shown yellow for the second time, leaving Accies to contest the last half hour with ten men.
Martin Canning said afterwards, “I thought Dougie’s second booking was soft. I told the boys not to make any silly challenges and give the ref a decision to make but he probably left a leg in. I felt that the sending off was harsh because for the second yellow Martin Boyle was going at pace. It was not a bad tackle. Dougie’s made two fouls all night and been sent off and Kamberi has made six fouls. But that’s football.”
Accies shook things up after Saturday’s defeat, making three changes to a starting line-up that saw Danny Redmond, Darren Lyon and Marios Ogkmpoe starting in place Ross Jenkins, Ronan Hughes and Scott McMann. Ali Crawford returned from injury for a place on the bench and David Templeton remained side-lined through injury.
The hosts made a couple of changes. Ofir Marciano returned to take his usual spot between the sticks in place of Cammy Bell as Hibs looked to improve on their fourth place. Steven Whittaker slotted into the Hibernian back line for Marvin Bartley, while John McGinn served the second game of his two-match ban.
Unlike recent games Accies settled well and saw plenty of the ball in the opening stages, then silenced the Easter Road faithful with a jaw dropping opener on eight minutes. Danny Redmond stormed down the right before knocking on for Antonio Rojano, his low cross should have been the keeper’s all day. Instead, it was spilled and Marios Ogkmpoe obliged by striking home from six yards.
Hibs responded well though and should have levelled just two minutes later, Lewis Stevenson flighting a ball to the back post, but Kamberi’s volley came off the woodwork. Stevenson then tested Woods reflexes with a cross come shot, which was saved before crashing off the crossbar.
The precious one goal lead was to last all of eight minutes as Hibs grabbed a deserved leveller, and it was in some style as Allan and McGeough linked up to play a delightful one-two with Kamberi on the edge of the Accies penalty area, the Hibs man then drilled it low past a stretched Woods and into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
The momentum seemed to be going the home side’s way, but Accies were still able to make their own contribution to an entertaining, end to end first half. A nice flick by Darren Lyon helped Lewis Ferguson set up Ogkmpoe outside the box, but the shot went well over. Hibs then went inches from going in front, as Boyle burst down the right side of the Accies box, his cross just beyond the reach of MacLaren’s to tap home.
Accies best defence looked to be to attack a vulnerable Hibs rear-guard, they did this well enough in the counter attack without seeing any positive result. Danny Redmond proved himself to be a growing influence in the game and stole the ball from Ambrose inside his own box with half an hour played but couldn’t quite pick out a team mate.
Hibs might have taken the lead on the cusp of half time, as Hanlon met Stevenson’s corner kick and glanced just over the crossbar. MacLaren might then have nodded his side in front right after the interval, after Stevenson teed him up, but with a free header it was bread and butter for Gary Woods.
Kamberi almost had his second of the game, volleying just wide from Hanlon’s flick inside the Accies box on 54 minutes. Scott Allan then floated him another tempting delivery a couple of minutes later, but in the end, the Hibs man couldn’t control.
The home support was growing frustrated as Accies held firm, but Hamilton would have to see the last half hour out with ten men, when Dougie Imrie was cautioned for a second time after a foul Martin Boyle. It didn’t take a rejuvenated Hibs side long to capitalize as Boyle hung a deep cross toward the back post for Kamberi to out jump the Hamilton defence and nod home just a minute later.
The ten men certainly didn’t fold but they couldn’t find a way upfield to trouble Hibs in the time remaining, as the hosts grew comfortable and controlled the tempo. Ali Crawford got on to see the last ten minutes to try and conjure a leveller, but Hibs put the game beyond Accies reach with six minutes remaining, when Hanlon put Kamberi through to seal the result with a hat trick completed from a wide.
The Hibs man almost got a fourth when he went inches from converting his with a minute of play left to go, with Boyle once more rampaging down the right flank and his ball just beyond his team mate’s reach.
Hibernian: Marciano, Whittaker (Bartley 78 ), Hanlon, McGeouch (Swanson 86), Stevenson, Boyle, MacLaren (Shaw 83), Kamberi, Allan, MacGregor, Ambrose. Subs Unused: Dabrowski, Slivka, Shaw, Murray.
Goals: Kamberi 16, 62, 85.
Accies: Woods, Tomas, Imrie (c), Redmond (Bingham 69), MacKinnon, Rojano (Crawford 79), Lyon, Ferguson, Want, Sarris, Ogkmpoe (McMann 63). Subs Unused: Fulton, Jenkins, Miller, van der Weg.
Goal: Ogkmpoe 8.
Cautions: Imrie, Redmond, Rojano, MacKinnon.
Red Card: Imrie (2nd yellow)
Referee: Steven McLean. Assistants: Andy McWilliam & Graeme Leslie. 4th Official: Gavin Ross.
Attendance: 15818 (142 Accies)