Hibs debrief: 'Goal machine' Newell; manager Johnson 'there' at Easter Road; Bojang horror miss; Cadden a lucky boy
A look back at the takeaways and talking points from Hibs’ 1-0 victory over Kilmarnock in the Premiership – their first three points at home in the league this season.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: It's not too often Joe Newell is the headline-maker for scoring a winning goal, but the midfielder deserves all the plaudits for his crisp half-volley that ultimately sealed all three points for Leith outfit. The Englishman popped up in the opposition's penalty box more than he has of late and could have had a second had he elected to shoot rather than try a reverse pass to team-mate Josh Campbell in the six-yard box. The 29-year-old was far more effective in the final third with Nonah Kenneh and, laterally, Jake Doyle-Hayes doing the dirty work behind. Newell also provided the flick-on to send Momodou Bojang through on goal in stoppage time before the Gambian made a total hash of the finish. Although not renowned for his goalscoring heroics, Newell has amassed three goals already this term, albeit two were against Bonnyrigg Rose in the Premier Sports Cup. Nevertheless, he has shown he has the ability to chip in with more from the middle of the park when in a more advanced position.
DEFINING MOMENT: Ash Taylor's last-ditch lunge that sent Martin Boyle sprawling to the turf proved to be the major talking point at Easter Road. Newell scoring from the resulting free-kick was a double whammy for the Ayrshire outfit. Following a battling victory over Hibs' city rivals Hearts in the Premier Sports Cup in midweek, the last thing Killie wanted was to play more than 80 minutes with ten men. And even though they failed to seriously test David Marshall in goal, they always carried a threat on the break. With the hosts failing to build on their one-goal lead, Killie were always in with a chance of snatching something late on.
YOU HAVE MISSED: With Hibs boss Lee Johnson laid up with a gall bladder problem and advised to rest at home, first-team coach David Gray was regularly spotted communicating through a fixed headset. It soon became apparent who was on the other end of the line. Despite undergoing emergency surgery this week, Johnson was still very much with his players, albeit feeling a tad second hand.
REF WATCH: John Beaton had a huge call to make in the 10th minute when Taylor scythed down Boyle just outside the visitors' box. To his credit, the man in the middle sought advice from his assistant before brandishing the defender a warranted red card. Killie had a decent shout for a penalty in the first half when Chris Cadden appeared to barge over Benjamin Chrisene without making any contact with the ball, an incident Rugby Park boss Derek McInnes alluded to in his post-match press conference. Having viewed the incident again, the Hibs full-back was fortunate to escape unpunished. Ryan Porteous and Kyle Lafferty also had a coming together in the second half with the latter crashing to the ground clutching his face. Both players were booked for their actions which was the correct decision.
BENEFIT OF HINDSIGHT: Had VAR come into effect at the beginning of the campaign and not later this year, referee John Beaton may well have been advised to revisit Cadden's first-half infringement on Chrisene in the penalty area. The full-back didn't get much, if anything of the ball, and should consider himself a touch fortunate not to have been penalised. Hibs substitute Bojang, however, will have nightmares over his stoppage-time sitter. The Gambian maybe had too much time to think about it when bearing down on Sam Walker and had he went for power over precision, then he surely would have notched his first goal in green and white.