Hibs move up to fourth with win over ten man Kilmarnock

Will Fish headed in the opener for the Easter Road side.

Hibs move up to fourth with win over ten man Kilmarnock in Premiership SNS Group

Hibernian stretched their unbeaten run to six league games and moved into fourth in the Premiership with a comfortable 2-0 victory over 10-man Kilmarnock.

Will Fish headed in the opener for the Easter Road side after just 16 minutes and a second from substitute Matthew Hoppe two minutes after the break earned them an advantage that rarely looked under threat.

Kilmarnock striker Kyle Vassell was sent off 20 minutes into the second half after an initial yellow card for a challenge on Marian Cabraja was upgraded by referee John Beaton following the intervention of VAR.

Hibs began in confident mood as they returned home for the first time since their 6-0 hammering of Aberdeen three weeks previously.

They saw appeals for a penalty waved aside when Cabraja’s shot was blocked before Chris Cadden’s follow-up was also repelled.

Kilmarnock briefly roused themselves as an attacking force and Chris Stokes’ header was beaten away by Hibs goalkeeper David Marshall.

Skipper Rory McKenzie also saw a shot deflected wide, but it was Hibs who made the breakthrough in the 16th minute.

Aiden McGeady, who later limped off with what looked like a hamstring injury, curled in an excellent corner from the right and Fish timed his run and jump perfectly to head high into the net from six yards out.

Vassell could have dragged Killie level in the 24th minute but failed to get enough on his header as he directed Jordan Jones’ brilliant inswinging free-kick beyond the far post.

The rest of the first half belonged to Hibs and they will have been disappointed to have gone into the break with just a single-goal advantage.

Josh Campbell found Elie Youan with a backheel but the striker’s drilled shot was batted away by keeper Sam Walker. Moments later Cadden burst free on the right but overhit his cross with Youan in support.

When Ewan Henderson seized possession to spark a counter-attack the midfielder’s powerful shot was again saved by Walker and when the visiting keeper was finally beaten, Joe Wright popped up on the line to boot Henderson’s close-range effort clear.

Killie manager Derek McInnes responded by sending on a trio of half-time substitutes but before they had the chance to settle Hibs doubled their advantage.

Cadden and Henderson combined on the right of the box to find the supporting James Jeggo and the attackers benefited from a huge slice of luck as an attempted clearance broke kindly for Hoppe, who bundled in from three yards out.

Killie now had little to lose and upped the ante in search of a way back into the match.

Cadden blocked a goalbound shot from substitute Liam Polworth before Hibs stirred and came close to a third when Hoppe flashed a low drive just wide.

Vassell’s exit, after Beaton was urged to consult the pitch-side monitor and decided the high boot merited a red card, left Killie with an uphill struggle and settled Hibs.

Only Walker’s outstretched leg prevented a third – and a second for Hoppe – following good work from Youan on the right.

Kilmarnock were denied the late goal that could have sparked a grandstand finish when CJ Egan-Riley cleared a Scott Robinson shot off the line after Paul Hanlon had allowed a long ball to drift over his head.

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