Hibs 3-2 Kilmarnock: Hibees edge five goal thriller with Kamberi penalty
Hibs and Kilmarnock again served up a match to remember as they shared five goals with the Edinburgh club clinching the three points with a late penalty from Flo Kamberi.
The Easter Road side had raced into a two goal lead throuigh Stevie Mallan's seventh goal of the season and a terrific header from David Gray but Killie hit back with strikes of their own from Eamonn Brophy and Greg Stewart before RugbyPark defender Kirk Broadfoot tripped Jamie Maclaren leaving Kamberi to hammer home the resultant spot kick.
tIt took Hibs just 12 minutes to get themselves in front, Aaron Tshibola's foul on Martin Boyle 26 yards out offering Mallan the opportunity to once again demonstrate his prowess - and he didin't disappoint, sending a tremendous shot into the top right hand corner of Jamie MacDonald's net, the Killie goalkeeper powerless to do anything about it.
However, it had been an open game between two sides whose matches entertained hugely last season and the Ayrshire club attempted to hit back, Stewart sidestepping Efe Ambrose and Ryan Porteous only to send his parting shot into the sidenetting.
But Hibs were on top and they emphasised that fact with a second goal in the 23rd minute, Mallan this time the provider as his corner was met ten yards out by a bullet header from Gray, MacDonald again left helpless as it fizzed past him.
Any thought that this might turn into a rout were quickly dispelled as Brophy got in ahead of Daryl Horgan to meet Stephen O'Donnell's low cross ahead of the front post to turn the ball beyond Adam Bogdan just three minutes later.
Play was raging front end to end, a flowing move from Hibs ending with Horgan slipping the ball through for Boyle who was foiled by the heels of Kirk Broadfoot before |Mallan sent another powerful shot just wide, Killie countering with the legs of goalkeeper Bogdan preventing Brophy adding a second for the visitors.
There was nothing, though that Bogdan could do to prevent Stewart hauling Kilmarnock level, a minute before the interval, the striker unleashing a superb shot which flashed by the Hungarian internationalist. It was a fitting end for what was a tremendous passing phase from Steve Clarke's side.
Those Killie goals had rather deflated the home support but Mallan lifted them again on the restart, yet another vicious shot this time deflected just off target while the early touches Thomas Agyepong displayed having replaced the injured Boyle also gave rise to some renewed optimism before Steven Whittaker sent Mallan's corner just over the bar.
The Easter Road support were given their first glimpse of Neil Lennon;s latest signing, Mark Milligan replacing Whittaker as his fellow Australian internationalist Jamie Maclaren came on for Emerson Hyndman, the double substitution resulting in Hibs going two up front where Kamberi, returning after injury, had been operating as a lone striker.
And last season's immediately picked up where they had left off, Kamberi's under hit pass intended for his team-mate appearing to have been mopped up by Broadfoot only for Maclaren to get his body in front of the Killie defender who knocked him over, referee John Beaton pointing immediately to the spot. Kamberi made no mistake, rifling the ball low past MacDonald to put Hibs back in front 12 minutes from time.
But it took a fingertip save from Bogdan, rising to knock Kris Boyd's header from Jordan Jomes' corner three minutes from time to finally secure the three points for the Capital outfit.
Hibs: Bogdan, Gray, Ambrose, Porteous, Stevenson, Whittaker (Milligan 72), Horgan, Hyndman (Maclaren 72), Mallan, Boyle (Agyepong 46), Kamberi,
Substiuttes not used: Laidlaw, Slivka, McGregor, Shaw.
Killmarnock: MacDonald, O'Donnell, Broadfoot, Findlay, Taylor (K Boyd 82), Burke (Enoobhare 86), Power, Tshibola, Jones, Stewart (Byrne 74), Brophy.
Substitutes not used: Bachmann, Ndjoli, S Boyd, Wilson.
Referee: John Beaton.