A vastly improved performance from Hibs saw off injury ravaged Kilmarnock in an entertaining match at Easter Road.
Hibs made 5 changes from the side which had been emptied out the CIS Cup by Motherwell. In came Kevin McCann, Darren McCormack, Filipe Morais, Ross Chisholm and Steven Fletcher.
Hibs secured the victory courtesy of a Clayton Donaldson hat trick and a Mickael Antoine Curier tap in. Colin Nish netted a consolation for Killie.
The home side started brightly with Portugese star Felipe Morais causing the Rugby Park outfit problems down the right flank and it was he who nearly opened the scoring with a powerful volley which looked to be on target but struck team mate Steven Fletcher.
The opening goal was only delayed by a couple of minutes and it was summer signing from York City Clayton Donaldson who scored it.
Killie didn’t deal with a Hibs corner and failed to clear properly and a Brian Kerr chip into the box was met on the turn from Donaldson who finished cleverly.
Due to Jim Jeffries side’s injury problems the majority of the match was played in their half and Hibs added a second on the half hour mark.
Donaldson was involved again as he raced to the ball with Frazer Wright and the defender appeared to win the ball clearly although referee Stuart Dougal saw it differently and awarded a penalty. It was as soft an award as the majority of fans inside the stadium had ever seen. The game of football would be in serious trouble if these were awarded every week.
Donaldson did take the penalty and struck it sweetly into the bottom right hand corner.
The Kilmarnock fans rightly booed the referee off at half time.
The second half continued in much the same vein as the first and Hibs had brought on Gathuessi for the injured Beuzelin at half time.
A third goal beckoned for the home side and should have arrived in the 47th minute when Donaldson was flattened by David Lilley as he attempted to connect with a Morais cross. On this occasion Dougal called it correctly.
Donaldson dusted himself down to take the kick but rather than picking a spot drilled it down the middle and Combe saved with his foot.
Just minutes later Combe produced an outstanding save from Steven Fletcher. A back post cross from David Murphy was somehow steered on target by the striker but the keeper produced a great stop to keep it out.
Hibees did finally add a third on 65 minutes. Good hold up play from the impressive Donaldson ended with a low ball driven to the back post which took out everyone and left Antoine Curier an easy tap in for his first goal for the Easter Road club.
The game was now over as a contest although give credit to Killie who never gave up and pulled a goal back on 76 minutes. It was terrific play from the visitors with swift passes cutting through th defensive reargard of Hibs and Nish prodded home a Gibson low cross.
Just two minutes later Hibs were awarded their third penalty of the match.
With Donaldson racing clear of his marker Ryan O’Leary the defender upended the striker in the box and duly received a red card for his troubles.
Donaldson was confident enough to take his third penalty of the afternoon despite missing his previous one cooly slotted the ball into the corner to send Combe the wrong way and complete his hat trick, the third of his career.
With only a few minutes remaining Donaldson was fouled again, this time on the edge of the box, and Hibs were awarded a free kick.
Antoine Curier strode up to send a powerful effort inches wide.
Virtual spectator. Dealt well with anything he had to do.
Always busy. Looked composed and full of energy
Captain was back to near his best after shocker in midweek. Unlucky not to score with first half header
Youngster made his debut on his 19th birthday. Looked calm and composed. Looks to have a big, big future.
Back in his best position at left full back and looked happier. Some clever forward runs and decent cross balls
Good performance from the midfielder. Had a hand in first and passed the ball well
Subbed at half time. Had a decent first half and wanted to be involved.
Full of energy and looked up for it. Always busy and complimented the other midfielders.
Hat trick and caused Killie untold problems.
Unlucky not to score but link up play was superb. Constantly fouled but few were awarded in his favour.
Excellent display from Portugese Under 21 star. Always busy and provided 3 or 4 excellent crosses.
Half time sub done ok but skinned on a couple of occasions by Gibson
Big man got involved as soon as he was introduced. Scored and had late free kick attempt fly inches wide.
20 mins for Irishman. 2 lovely crosses but little else.
John Collins got it spot on for this clash. The team looked to have balance and pace with Stevenson dropped. Will be delighted with the performance.
Join Vital Hibs
Message Board To visit the message board, click here.