Danny Handling on target in Hibs Under-20s victory at Kilmarnock
Danny Handling scored for Hibs Under-20s as they stayed in the SPFL Development League title race with a 2-1 win away at Kilmarnock.
The hosts had taken the lead through Jack Whittaker, but second-half strikes from Handling and Sean Mackie gave Grant Murray’s men all three points.
Shorn of their red-hot striker Oli Shaw, who is on international duty with Scotland Under-19s, the young Hibees got off to the worst possible start on five minutes when Scott McLean got to the byeline and fired over an inviting cross for Whittaker to head past Patrick Martin in the Hibs goal.
Fortunes at Rugby Park did not improve for the visitors on 20 minutes when defender Callum Crane was taken off injured, but they finished the first half the better of the two teams despite not being able to find an equaliser.
The leveller, however, came 63 minutes when Handling – who is on the road back to fitness after a long-term knee injury – fired the ball beyond Devlin Mackay.
Buoyed by that goal, Hibs went in search of the winner and their efforts were rewarded on 77 minutes when substitute Mackie picked the ball up on the left-hand side and rattled home an unstoppable strike to clinch the three points.
Killie searched for a response of their own, but Hibs managed to see out the match without too many scares.
Murray’s men now move up into third place in the Development League table, a point behind Hamilton in second place – Accies have played a game extra – and three points behind leaders Ross County. Their next match is at home to St Johnstone on Tuesday, March 28.
Hibs Development XI: P Martin, Donaldson, Crane (Watson 20), McLean, Waugh, Stirling, I Murray (Mackie 66), S Martin, Gullan, Handling, F Murray. Unused sub: Dabrowski.