Hibs Under-18s: Malik Zaid goal seals vital win for title-chasing young team at Kilmarnock
A Malik Zaid goal ten minutes from time gave Hibs Under-18s a vital win against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Friday night as Gareth Evans’ side picked up a priceless three points in their title charge.
The midfielder, on a second-half substitute after recovering from a knock that kept him out of the previous two matches, finished well from Jacob MacIntyre’s cut-back following some good work from Connor Young and Kanayo Megwa.
Two changes were made to the starting XI following Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat by Aberdeen with Robbie Hamilton coming in for Rudi Molotnikov and Freddie Wylie starting in place of the injured Oscar MacIntyre. Hamilton and Wylie started in midfield with McCulloch occupying the left-wingback slot.
Hibs started strongly in Ayrshire and had early shouts for a penalty for handball waved away after Young’s shot appeared to hit a defender’s arm. Ethan Laidlaw was then clean through on goal before being hauled back but despite the assistant referee signalling a foul that would have seen a likely red card for denying a goalscoring opportunity, the whistler overruled his linesman and awarded a drop ball.
Killie ‘keeper Glavin then denied Young from a free kick as Hibs pushed for the opener.
There was precious little in the way of chances for either team in the remainder of the first half and Evans reacted by replacing Laidlaw with Molotnikov, who had impressed against the Dons, at the interval.
The Scotland Under-16 internationalist hit the side-netting with an effort early in the second half following Jacob Blaney’s through-ball shortly after a Young chance was deflected wide for a corner.
Mack Weir got in the way of a goal-bound effort and Killie fired wide as they came into the game more.
With 15 minutes remaining Young gave the home defence the slip and chipped Glavin but the ball dropped wide of the upright, but the forward was involved minutes later in the only goal of the game.
Picking the ball up in midfield he sprayed a pass out wide to Megwa on the overlap, whose driven pass found MacIntyre to cut it back for Zaid to blast home.
The final few minutes were nervy as Hibs battled to hold onto their slender lead but they prevailed and secured a much-needed win as they push for the title.