Saturday 16th February 2019 at 3 pm
Hibernian 2 Hamilton Academical 0
Defeat in the capital pushes us one place down the table after results elsewhere. We now sit level with Dundee on points with an inferior goal difference, and five points clear of bottom placed St Mirren.
We had approached and started this one with great positivity, but let the game slip away in the first half. Florian Kamberi’s flick and Mark McNulty’s spot kick put Hibs in the driving seat by half time.
Accies rallied in an often end to end second half, but couldn’t repair the damage. But an improved second half display typifies the way Brian Rice wants his sides to play.
“I’m not sitting back accepting getting beaten. We’re always going to have a go. I told the players at half time if anyone didn’t fancy it to just get your things and go. I think you saw spirit and energy when they came back out. I couldn’t have asked for any more in the second half.”
“In the first half there wasn’t a lot in the game. We haven’t stopped three crosses, two of which led to their goals. Our decision making in the final third was poor at times. That’s something we need to work at.”
“I’ve been here with teams before going two down and worrying about it going four or five. I didn’t have that feeling today. This is how we want to play, and to be fair the lads are buying into it. They worked their socks off today.”
A 6-0 hammering here in October marked a low point in our season. Only three of that side featured as we approached this one on the back of two positive results. There were three changes from the side which faced St Johnstone. David McMillan got his first start in place of Dougie Imrie, whilst Steve Davies and Steven Boyd made way for Tony Andreu and Mickel Miller in attack.
New Hibs boss Paul Heckingbottom meanwhile named a Hibs side unchanged from victory in the Scottish Cup last weekend, as the hosts sought a return to their early season league form.
Accies made a solid enough start, with McMillan having our first opening on 10 minutes, an edge of box effort held by Marciano. But Hibs started to find some joy in the wide areas which was ultimately to prove the difference.
Gary Woods had already produced an excellent stop to deny Kamberi’s effort at point blank range on 6 minutes after Gray had got to the right byline. But misjudgement of a Horgan cross from the other flank allowed the Swiss striker to nick the ball past him for the opener on 16 minutes.
It could have been two in similar circumstances on 32 minutes, Kamberi meeting Horgan’s cross with his head but only finding Woods’ bar. The Accies keeper clung on to the ball on the goal line.
But it became a very tall order on 38 minutes as Hibs extended their lead from the spot. Lenny Sowah was adjudged to have fouled David Gray with a high tackle just inside the Accies penalty area, and McNulty duly sent Woods the wrong way from 12 yards.
Accies needed the next goal, and were to give a fighting second half performance. But Hibs also re-emerged in the mood and should have killed it off on 47 minutes, Ziggy Gordon clearing a dangerous Gray cross over his own bar.
Miller was just inches away from reducing the arrears four minutes later, cutting inside from the right to angle a drive just over from the edge of the box.
Accies were getting forward at every opportunity, but leaving space down each flank, which Hibs continued to expose. McGowan was next to hack a Kamberi cross off his own line on 54 minutes.
A very open game ensued, as one minute later Miller set up McMillan on the edge of the box with Marciano tipping around the post.
We kept streaming forward, with Steve Davies introduced to the fray in another attacking substitution. Academy players Reegan Mimnaugh and Lewis Smith both came on for their second Accies appearances, as attack continued as the best form of defence.
Our best hope looked to be when Miller was on the ball. He was causing plenty of problems with his running, making
another dangerous run to the Hibs byline on 70 minutes, his cross deflecting off the Hibs near post.
All the damage had been done in that first half. Instead Hibs might have given the result an unfair look five minutes from the end, as sub Omeonga shaved the edge of Woods’ right hand post from just inside the box.
Hibs: Marciano, Gray, Stevenson, McGregor, Hanlon, Milligan, Slivka, Mallon, Horgan (Omeonga, 73), McNulty (Shaw, 78 ), Kamberi (Allan, 85) ;Subs Unused: Bogdan, Nelom, Bigirimana,Mackie
Hibs Goals: Kamberi, 16,McNulty, 38 (pen)
Hibs Cautions: McNulty, 49, McGregor, 53, Mallan, 66
Accies: Woods, McGowan, Gordon, Kilgallon, Oakley, Miller, Gogic (Mimnaugh, 63), McMillan (Davies, 56), MacKinnon (c) , Andreu (L Smith, 74), Sowah; Subs Unused: Marsden, Penny, Martin, Boyd
Accies Cautions: Oakley, 62, Sowah, 73
Referee: Alan Muir; Assistants: David Roome and Graham McNeillie; 4th Official: Graham Beaton
Attendance:16,265 (237 Accies)