Hibs fading Championship title hopes were dealt another massive blow as they lost for the second time in four days, going down to Dumbarton despite a stirring second half fightback.
Alan Stubbs side had found themselves three down, Kevin Cawley and then former Hearts players Christian Nade and Darren Barr scoring before Liam Henderson and Farid El Alagui brought them back into the game.
But the Capital club were unable to find that equalising goal and Harry Forrester’s last minute goal for leaders Rangers left Hibs 11 points adrift with only ten games to be played.
The shock for travelling Hibs fans was the absence of Anthony Stokes, the on-loan Celtic striker not even making the substitutes’ bench.
Club skipper David Gray and Dylan McGeouch were also missing as head coach Alan Stubbs made four changes to the side which lost to Morton in midweek as Kevin Thomson dropped to the bench.
Hibs almost took the lead in the third minute, Niklas Gunnarsson whipping in a cross from the right which Henderson met first time at the edge of the penalty area, his shot clipping the bar.
But Dumbarton went ahead against the run of play, Cawley turning away from John McGinn before drilling a low shot beyond goalkeeper Mark Oxley from 25 yards.
That goal allowed Dumbarton to sit in and get everyone bar Nade behind the ball to frustrate Hibs who, again, were looking more than a touch flat. A McGinn free-kick played in to the feet of James Keatings was laid off for Dan Carmichael who’s measured shot slipped just wide.
Hibs, though, were struggling to create any clear openings and their problems mounted three minutes before half-time when Oxley elected to come for Mark Docherty’s cross. But he never made it, Christian Nade beating him to the ball to send a glancing header into the far corner of the goalkeeper’s net.
That was three minutes before half-time and four minutes after it Hibs found themselves further behind, former Hearts defender Darren Barr stooping at the near post to meet Calum Waters’ corner to power home a header from six yards out.
It looked all over for Hibs but Henderson gave them a glimmer of hope when he was allowed to come in unchallenged from the left to curl a shot beyond Sons’ goalkeeper Jamie Ewings.
If former Hearts striker Nade hadn’t annoyed the travelling support enough with his goal, he incensed them as he walked past en route for the dressing room having been substituted, the Frenchman flashing the “5-1” sign at them.
Henderson almost grabbed a second for Hibs, latching onto the ball after Martin Boyle’s shot had hit the post only for Docherty to take his effort off the line, But from the resulting corner taken by Henderson El Alagui did score, rifling the ball home as the nerves began jangling in the home side. Dumbarton: Ewings, Docherty, Saunders, Buchanan, Cawley (Kirkpatrick 78), Barr, Waters, Nade (Fleming 62), Lindsay, Wright, Walsh (Taggart 67).
Substitutes: Brown, McCallum, Hopkins, Heh.
Hibs: Oxley, Gunnarsson, McGregor, Hanlon (Fontaine 62), Stevenson, Bartley (Boyle 57), Carmichael, Henderson, McGinn, Keatings (El Alagui 57), Cummings.
Substitutes: Virtanen, Dagnall, Thomson, Shaw.
Referee: Barry Cook.