Hibs Under-18s: Josh McCulloch goal earns narrow win against Hamilton

A Josh McCulloch goal earned Hibs Under-18s a narrow 1-0 victory over Hamilton Accies Under-18s on Friday night.

The midfielder found the net at the second time of asking early in the second half at the Hibernian Training Centre as Gareth Evans’ side kept up their title push.

With league-leaders Rangers and third-placed Hearts also winning on Friday Hibs remain in second, two points behind the Gers and two ahead of their Edinburgh rivals.

The wee Hibees put five and six past Accies on two separate occasions earlier this season but there was to be no repeat this time as they were made to fight for the three points. Rudi Molotnikov was handed a rare starting berth in midfield with Malik Zaid carrying a knock while injured pair Robbie Hamilton and Josh O’Connor remain sidelined for the young team.

The Scotland Under-16 internationalist had an early sight of goal along with Connor Young but it was a scrappy game and neither side could gain a foothold heading into the interval. The second period began in much the same fashion, with the visitors shelling cross after cross into the Hibs box without really troubling goalkeeper Murray Johnson.

Ethan Laidlaw had a promising run down the left but there were no takers for his cross. Moments later Laidlaw embarked on another run down the right and this time his deflected centre fell to McCulloch. The midfielder’s first shot was blocked but the rebound fell to him and he made no mistake at the second time of asking.

With such a hectic schedule as they attempt to make up their games in hand Hibs understandably began to tire and Accies came back into it without ever really threatening.

Evans threw on Freddie Wylie for Molotnikov to freshen things up and the substitute played in Young but the flag was raised for offside, much to the surprise of the home team.

The Hibs players celebrate Josh McCulloch's goal. Picture: Maurice Dougan

Young had another effort blocked as Hibs discovered a bit of a second wind but there was frustration when Murray Aiken’s effort was put out by the ‘keeper with the assistant referee signalling a goal kick.

Accies had claims for a penalty towards the end but they were in vain and Hibs held on for a narrow win.

Hibs: Johnson, J MacIntyre, Blaney, Weir, Megwa, O MacIntyre, McCulloch, Molotnikov, Aiken, Laidlaw, Young. Sub used: Wylie