Hibs 3, Falkirk 3: Hibs forced to settle for point

Falkirk's Rory Loy (right) slides in on Liam Fontaine. Pic: SNS
Falkirk's Rory Loy (right) slides in on Liam Fontaine. Pic: SNS
134
Have your say

Jason Cummings claimed his first Hibs hat-trick but the Easter Road side were forced to settle for a point after blowing a two goal lead.

Cummings had given Hibs the lead only for Falkirk new boy John Baird to equalise on his debut. Baird thought he had scored a second but a belated offside flag ruled his strike out.

Hibs took full advantage with Cummings scoring two more before the interval when they appeared to have victory firmly within their grasp. Martin Boyle missed a golden opportunity to extend their lead and Alan Stubbs side were made to pay as Bairns defender Peter Granst scored twice in six minutes to earn his side a draw.

Danny Handling dropped to the bench where he was joined by Hibs latest signing Franck Dja Djedje.

Falkirk included their two new arrivals, Mark Kerr and John Baird in their starting line-up as they sought a third victory of the season over the Capital club.

Hibs made all the early running, skipper Liam Craig firing just wide after good work down the left by Lewis Stevenson before Cummings’ cutback fell just behind Scott Allan.

But it took the home side only 12 minutes to get ahead, Cummings turning onto his left foot and firing in a shot which shouldn’t have over-troubled Jamie MacDonald but the Bairns goalkeeper failed to stop it spinning over the line.

Hibs joy, however, was shortlived as Falkirk hauled themselves level against the run of play in the 18th minute. Kieran Duffie delivered a hanging cross which Baird met to send a looping header wide of Mark Oxley in the Hibs goal.

Oxley then had to shovel a Willie Vaulks effort round the post before Falkirk believed they had taken the lead. Blair Alston’s free-kick was flicked on by Rory Loy for Baird to chest home.

The Bairns celebrations were complete and the ball back on the centre spot ready for kick-off when Willie Collum, having awarded the goal, spotted his assistant Lorraine Clark’s flag aloft signalling Baird was offside, a real let-off for Hibs.

And they made the most of that escape as they retook the lead six minutes from the interval, Liam Fontaine meeting Scott Allan’s corner with a downward header which was flicked high into the net by Cummings from only a couple of yards out.

Cummings completed a memorable first half hat-trick three minutes later, Allan’s through ball tempted MacDonald into a rash run from his line, the goalkeeper beaten in the race by Boyle who steadied himself before delivering an inch-perfect cross for Cummings to head from the edge of the six yard box.

Boyle thought he had made it four for Hibs six minutes after the restart when he beat MacDonald to a loose ball on the edge of the Falkirk penalty area, the forward turning away in celebration after delivering his shot only for the ball to roll inches wide of target.

Hibs were made to pay for that miss when Falkirk hauled themselves back into the match in the 59th minute, Grant getting his head to Craig Sibbald’s corner, the ball possibly taking a nick off Craig before finding it’s way into the net.

There may have been a doubt as to who got the final touch but there was no doubting Falkirk’s equaliser belonged to Grant, the defender finding himself all alone as Mark Kerr’s long free-kick fell to him to direct the ball beyond Oxley yet again.

Oxley may have looked suspect at both of those goals but he redeemed himself somewhat as he acrobatically turned away a Sibbald effort which looked destined for the top corner of his net.

In a pulsating finale both sides had opportunities to snatch all three points but eventually were forced to settle for a draw.

Hibs: Oxley, Booth, Hanlon, Fontaine, Stevenson, S Allan (Handling 76), Robertson, Craig, McGeouch, Cummings, Boyle (Dja Djedje 69).

Substitutes not used: Perntreou, Stanton, Heffernan, Jake Sinclair, Martin.

Falkirk: MacDonald, Duffie, McCracken, Grant, Leahy, Alston, Vaulks, Kerr (Taiwo 86), Sibbald, Loy, Baird (Morgan 82).

Substitutes not used: Bowman, Smith, Dick, Maybury, Cooper.

Referee: Willie Collum.