Hibs 2-0 Partick Thistle: Quick-fire double wins it for Hibees
It was far from pretty, but Hibs perseverance eventually won them the game as Jamie Maclaren and Paul Hanlon scored in the space of five second half minutes.
Partick Thistle had been denied a goal by the offside flag only seconds before Maclaren poked home a close-range shot before Hanlon rose to secure all three points as he headed home Scott Allan's corner before the Jags were reduced to 10 men when Danny Devine, having been stupidly booked for preventing a free-kick being taken, was shown a second yellow card for a scything tackle on Hibs striker Flo Kamberi.
Dylan McGeouch had recovered from the groin problem which had ruled him out of Scotland's matches with Costa Rica and Hungary, while Marvin Bartley took the place of the suspended John McGinn in the middle of the park. Cammy Bell did likewise in goal with Ofir Marciano serving a one-match ban following his red card at McDiarmid Park a fortnight ago.
The two-week break appeared to have left Hibs a little rusty as troubled Thistle enjoyed the upper-hand throughout the opening 20 minutes, the presence of on-loan Hearts striker Conor Sammon giving the Firhill side's attack a focal point without being able to bother Bell.
The home team were struggling to find a tempo as they struggled to impose themselves on the game. But they gradually began to see more of the ball and should have gone ahead in the 26th minute when Scott Allan's inviting free-kick found Efe Ambrose stealing in behind the Jags' back-line. The defender, however, was unable to get a foot to the ball as it went straight through to goalkeeper Tomas Cerny.
Former Hibs goalie Cerny had much more to do a few minutes later, throwing himself full-length to his left to claw the ball to safety as McGeouch steered Kamberi's pass towards the top corner of his net. Cerny injured himself in the process, forcing Thistle boss Alan Archibald to replace him with Ryan Scully.
Those two incidents apart, it had been a first half of little in the way of excitement not helped by a thoroughly inconsistent performance from referee Andrew Dallas.
There was concern for Hibs eight minutes into the second half when goalkeeper Bell was left lying flat on his face after punching clear a Ryan Edwards' corner but,a after treatment he recovered and was able to carry on.
And Hibs were thankful he did, Bell sparing Ambrose's blushes after the defender had lost out to Myles Storey who cut the ball back for Sammon who saw his shot saved at point-blank range by the goalkeeper.
A superb pass from Allan found Jamie Maclaren in space inside the Thistle penalty box for once but Scully got just enough of a touch on his low shot to take the pace off it giving Adam Barton time to take it away from danger.
Thistle thought they'd taken the lead when Baily Cargill got his head to Edwards corner, forcing another terrific save from Bell although the ball fell free for Danny Devine to prod home only to find the offside flag raised
And Hibs made the most of that escape by getting themselves in front with a minute, Martin Boyle getting a rare opportunity to display his blistering pace to good effect to catch the ball before it reached the bye-line, cutting it back for Maclaren to jab home from a couple of yards out.
Having struggled to make that breakthrough Hibs doubled their lead five minutes later, Hanlon rising to meet Allan's corner, his header steering the ball into the roof of Scully's net.
Hibs: Bell, Ambrose, McGregor, Hanlon, Stevenson, Boyle, McGeouch, Bartley (Whittaker 65), S Allan (Swanson 90+3), Kamberi, Maclaren (Shaw 78)
Substitutes not used: Dabrowski, Slivka, F Murray, Porteous.
Partick Thistle: Cern (Scully 37)y, P McGinn, Devine, Cargill, Elliott, McCarthy, Osman, Barton, Edwards, Storey (Doolan 79), Sammon.
Substitutes not used: Booth, Spittal, Erskine, Lawless, Woods.
Referee: Andrew Dallas