Dominique Malonga claimed a hat-trick as Hibs notched their fifth successive away win to close in ever so slightly on second placed Rangers in a thriller at Dumbarton.
The Capital club appeared to have the game won with something to spare following a devastating three goal blitz in just seven first half minutes with Scott Allan, Malonga and Paul Hanlon all getting on the scoresheet.
But two early goals in the second half from substitute Chris Kane and Andy Graham had Hibs living on their nerves for a few minutes before Malonga claimed his second of the game with a fantastic shot from all of 30 yards.
Dumbarton, however, weren’t finished and Garry Fleming had the Hibs fans biting their nails again until substitute Sam Stanton drilled home his side’s fifth goal seven minutes from time before Malonga rolled home his third.
After seeing two Liam Fontaine headers cleared off the line, by Sons midfielder and then goalkeeper Danny Rogers, the Easter Road outfit made the break through in the 23rd minute, Allan latching onto Danny Handling’s superb pass to angle a low shot into the far corner of the net.
Malonga, back from his first stint of international duty with Congo, celebrated his return with his seventh goal of the season, playing a clever one-two with skipper Liam Craig before delivering a delightful “dink” over Rogers.
Allan turned provider for the third, the midfielder creating space for himself on the bye-line before firing in an inviting low cross which was just crying out for Hanlon to turn into the net from close-range.
Dumbarton had been totally outplayed in those opening 45 minutes, not what boss Ian Murray wanted to see as he celebrated his second anniversary as manager of the club.
He’d have been far happier five minutes into the second half when Kane ran in unmarked to rifle home former Hibs striker Colin Nish’s header from Andy Graham’s free-kick, a goal to put a few doubts in the minds of Alan Stubbs’ players.
And that anxiety grew immensely as Dumbarton cut Hibs lead to a single goal in the 61st minute, Graham rising to power a header beyond Mark Oxley from Mark Gilhaney’s cross.
Malonga eased those worries with a stunning strike from 30 yards, his right foot shot exploding into the top right hand corner of Rogers’ net before Fleming caused a further dose of the jitters among the travelling support as he curled a terrific shot beyond Oxley for Dumbarton’s third.
So it was a huge sigh of relief which greeted Stanton’s strike and Hibs were finally able to relax as Malonga hit his third five minutes from time.
Dumbarton: Rogers, Graham, Mair, McLaughlin (McDonald 46), Gilhaney, Agnew, Fleming, Turner, Taggart (Kane 46), Megginson (Kirkpatrick 80), Nish.
Substitutes not used: Ewings, Van Zanten, McDougall, Campbell.
Hibs: Oxley, Gray, Hanlon, Fontaine, Stevenson, S Allan, Robertson, Craig, Handling (Stanton 73), Cummings (Kennedy 85), Malonga.
Substitutes not used: Perntreou, Harris, Heffernan, Jake Sinclair, Booth.
Referee: Calum Murray.