Hibee History: Rebirth continues under new boss Collins

Steven Fletcher congratulates Chris Killen after his penalty
Steven Fletcher congratulates Chris Killen after his penalty
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Hibs continued their renaissance under new manager John Collins with a deserved win over Inverness.

In a tight first half the Edinburgh side could not break the deadlock, despite three great efforts from impressive full-back Steven Whittaker.

But Steven Fletcher fired the home side in front after 64 minutes with a crisp drive from 12 yards.

Inverness keeper Mark Brown was sent off for pulling down Chris Killen and the Hibs striker scored from the spot. Inverness were pinned back for long spells and when they did get forward they found much-maligned Easter Road goalkeeper Zbigniew Malkowski on top form.

Hibs midfielder Michael Stewart recovered from a leg knock to take his place alongside Kevin Thomson in the engine room of an unchanged Hibs side.

Caley had Ian Black back after a two-match suspension but he had to settle for a place on the bench as manager Charlie Christie kept the same 11 which drew with Aberdeen on Monday.

Whittaker, who was outstanding in the midweek CIS Cup win over Hearts, started brightly and had two shots in the opening 10 minutes – one of which produced a smart save from Brown.

Hibs’ playmaker Merouane Zemmama was replaced by Fletcher after 20 minutes and five minutes later the home side threatened when Whittaker again went close after a mazy run.

The Highlanders won a spate of corners on the half-hour mark but could not make their pressure pay.

In the 34th minute, a deflected shot by Stewart from 16 yards out had Brown scurrying to his right to push the ball wide.

Despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession, the home side could have gone behind just before half-time.

Malkowski, who had previously not had a save to make, denied Craig Dargo and Graham Bayne with a wonderful double save – punching the air in delight.

He blocked a close range volley from Dargo then recovered to thwart Bayne just inches from the goal-line.

The home side continued to pressure the Inverness defence in the second half and made the breakthrough with Fletcher’s fine strike.

The teenager collected a headed pass from David Murphy and drilled the ball into the top right-hand corner of the net.

Inverness battled to get back into the game and Malkowski stopped a fierce shot from Gary McSwegan, but it was the home side who made sure of the three points with 10 minutes left.

Brown was dismissed for pulling down Killen in the box and the New Zealand striker dusted himself down before making no mistake from the spot to clinch victory for Collins’ side.

Hibs: Malkowski, Whittaker, Martis, Jones, Murphy, Stewart, Scott Brown, Thomson (Beuzelin 59), Sproule (Benjelloun 46), Killen, Zemmama (Fletcher 22). Subs Not Used: McNeil, Glass, Hogg, Shiels

Inverness CT: Brown, Tokely, Dods, McBain, Wilson (Fraser 82), Bayne, Duncan, Munro, Hastings, Dargo (Wyness 74), Rankin (McSwegan 78). Subs Not Used: McCaffrey, Black, Sutherland, McAllister

Ref: J Underhill

Att: 12,868