Hibee History: Clayton misses penalty but scores hat-trick

Clayton Donaldson celebrates his third goal
Clayton Donaldson celebrates his third goal
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Clayton Donaldson scored his only hat-trick for the Hibees against a poor Kilmarnock side, despite missing an early penalty.

Manager John Collins handed defender Darren McCormack a start on his birthday and the 19-year-old enjoyed a comfortable SPL debut in front of the home fans.

Hibs had made a habit of scoring early and the home side started brightly once more, going in front after 12 minutes. The visitors failed to clear a Filipe Morais corner and when Brian Kerr headed the ball back into the danger zone, Donaldson spun quickly and thumped a shot high into the net.

Hibs striker Steven Fletcher then picked up a perfect long delivery from David Murphy and cleverly juggled the ball on his head to get past Frazer Wright but the busy Alan Combe blocked his shot from a tight angle. Fletcher failed to direct another wonderful cross from Murphy on target and Combe made an incredible full-length diving save to claw away a net-bound header from Rob Jones.

Hibs were full of verve and invention as they pressed forward but their second goal was harsh on Killie.

Frazer Wright appeared to time his tackle on Donaldson perfectly but referee Stuart Dougal enraged the supporters from Ayrshire when he pointed to the spot. Donaldson picked himself up and tucked the penalty kick away for his fourth goal in three starts.

Hibs were awarded a second penalty inside the first minute of the second half when David Lilley climbed all over Donaldson. However, the former York City striker’s casual effort was comfortably saved by the Killie keeper.

Combe followed that with another very impressive stop to keep out a Fletcher effort as the Hibs striker slid in to meet Murphy’s low cross.

Looking to reverse the flow of the match, Kilmarnock made a triple substitution on 54 minutes, with Colin Nish, Willie Gibson and Craig Bryson thrown on by manager Jim Jefferies, but the visitors could not halt the Hibs attacks and Combe once again denied Fletcher, with the then Scotland under-21 internationalist firing in a powerful swerving shot.

Fletcher was replaced by Antoine-Curier and the big Frenchman tapped in Hibs’ third goal when he diverted Donaldson’s shot from close range. Killie subs Gibson and Nish combined to reduce the deficit, with the latter drilling in a shot from six yards, but a third penalty was given to the home team when O’Leary hacked down the speedy Donaldson allowing the striker to complete his hat-trick.

Hibs: Ma-Kalambay, McCormack, Jones, Murphy, Morais (O’Brien 66), Beuzelin (Gathuessi 46), Kerr, McCann, Chisholm, Donaldson, Fletcher (Antoine-Curier 61).