Hibs Under-18s earn hard-fought victory over 10-man Kilmarnock to maintain title push
Robbie Hamilton’s goal just after the hour mark was enough for Gareth Evans’ side who continue their unbeaten run and now sit just five points behind league-leaders Rangers with seven games in hand after the Light Blues suffered defeat on Friday night at the hands of Hamilton.
A strong and persistent wind at the Ormiston training complex limited the amount of football on show in the opening exchanges and the first clear-cut chance fell to Mack Weir 25 minutes in but his header from a Connor Young free kick was off target.
Young then played in strike partner Josh O’Connor with a perfectly-weighted through-ball – no mean feat given the breeze – but the forward’s effort was straight at Kilmarnock ‘keeper Aiden Glavin.
Murray Aiken and O’Connor had further efforts before Jacob MacIntyre’s cross found Young but Glavin, who impressed throughout the 90 minutes, denied the young Hibs forward.
Jacob Blaney then blazed a free kick wide of the target as the first half petered out.
Hibs started the second period on the front foot and Weir powered a header at Glavin following a Young corner. Young then hit another free kick just wide of the left-hand post as the hosts bgan asking questions of the visitors.
O’Connor tested Glavin again following a swift counter-attack spearheaded by Hamilton but the midfielder went one better on 62 minutes.
Oscar MacIntyre’s throw-in was only half-cleared by the Killie defence and the wing-back’s header found Ethan Laidlaw, who clipped the ball onto Young.
Young held off one defender, pivoted past another, and threaded the ball into the penalty area for the onrushing Hamilton who had timed his run perfectly to take a touch before beating Glavin at his near post.
Aiken brought another save out of the ‘keeper after a driving, mazy run from deep inside his own half before substitute Josh McCulloch saw his follow-up effort saved.
With 15 minutes remaining Kilmarnock lost Kian Leslie to a second yellow card and coach Craig Clarke followed soon after. Despite being a man down the Ayrshire side battled hard for an equaliser but were unable to test Murray Johnson.