Five key games on Hibs’ march to the title

Hibs players celebrate their title win. Pic: SNS/Roddy Scott
Hibs players celebrate their title win. Pic: SNS/Roddy Scott
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After three seasons away, Hibernian have returned to the Scottish Premiership as champions following their comfortable ? win over Queen of the South in front of a buoyant home crowd. We look back at the key games which helped Hibs along the way.

October 22, 2016: Dunfermline 1, Hibs 3

After a scintillating start to the Championship season in which they won their first five games, prompting some to say the title race would be over by Christmas, Hibs suffered a run of four games without a victory. It looked like being a fifth when Kallum Higginbotham’s first-half penalty put Dunfermline ahead, but Neil Lennon’s players got the stroke of luck they needed as James Keatings’ shot deflected off Lee Ashcroft and into the Pars’ net. Hibs took full advantage of that break, Grant Holt slotting home a penalty before Brian Graham secured victory in the dying seconds.

December 31, 2016: Falkirk 1, Hibs 2

The Bairns had proved to be Hibs’ nemesis last season, but this time round the Capital club held the upper hand having won their previous match at Falkirk. As ever, though, Peter Houston’s side made it difficult, Craig Sibbald firing them ahead only for Jason Cummings to equalise two minutes later. A draw looked certain until Hibs were awarded a free-kick 19 yards out, leaving emergency loan signing Kris Commons to step up and hammer home a shot which he later claimed would have taken the head off any Falkirk player brave enough to get in the way.

January 6, 2017: Hibs 3, Dundee United 0

Hibs have bemoaned the points dropped to teams in the lower half of the table, but in the crunch matches Neil Lennon’s players certainly stepped up. Only a few weeks previously the Edinburgh side had gone to Tannadice and lost to a Tony Andreu penalty and United pitched up at Easter Road knowing a win would take them top. They never got the chance as Chris Humphrey made an impressive debut, helping Jason Cummings to fire home two first-half goals, with John McGinn adding a third late in the game to push Hibs four points clear.

March 18, 2017: Hibs 2, Dumbarton 2

It could prove to be a good point at the end of the day is a phrase often used by managers and players in a bid to mask a disappointing result, but a draw turned out to be a decent outcome for Hibs as they had to twice come from behind to earn it. A Christian Nade penalty had given Dumbarton a first-half lead, but Daniel Harvie’s own goal raised hopes that Hibs would go on and win the game, only for Robert Thomson to put the visitors’ ahead once again. However, Martin Boyle salvaged a vital point with his late goal.

March 25, 2017: Hibs 2, Falkirk 1

This was a match which looked like ending in a goal-less draw as the game went into the final 15 minutes. But Efe Ambrose, signed on an emergency loan from Celtic, headed home James Keatings superbly flighted free-kick. Hibs’ joy was short-lived as Craig Sibbald got his almost obligatory goal against them within two minutes, nodding home a Falkirk corner. However, a jibe from a Falkirk player that he was “all left foot” prompted Keatings to cut inside and let fly with his weaker right, his shot arcing past goalkeeper Danny Rogers and into the far corner of his net for a dramatic winner two minutes into added on time.