How Hibs players rated in four-goal thriller with Kilmarnock

Comeback for the ages falls just short of securing away win

What is it about Hibs, Kilmarnock and these, wild, wild Saturday afternoons at Rugby Park? In a four-goal thriller for the ages, we were reminded that history does not always repeat itself. But it often rhymes.

This thrilling 2-2 draw was so reminiscent of Nick Montgomery’s first game as Hibs boss, way back in September, in so many ways. With the obvious exception of the fact that, on this occasion, it was the visitors who came from two behind to secure a point. The travelling Hibs fans, having seen their team lose far too many games lately, enjoyed this one a good deal more than they did that Monty debut.

A Dylan Vente own goal after 25 minutes and a Matthew Kennedy tap-in early in the second half, the latter exposing some horrific failings in a back four who cannot wait a moment longer for incoming Wales Under-21 international Owen Bevan to agree teams this week, put Killie in the lead.

But a Joe Newell volley and an almost equally impressive strike from new signing Myziane Maolida drew the visitors level with Killie, who had Corrie Ndaba sent off for a thumping challenge on Jair Tavares. In a game that saw Montgomery react to falling two behind by making a triple sub, throwing on Maolida, Christian Doidge and Rory Whittaker in a bid to shift the momentum, Hibs might have ended the afternoon celebrating a victory; Doidge missed a great chance to score with a free header in the closing minutes.

Yet, for a very long time, their chances of a win appeared to be somewhere between slim and non-existent. Having played pretty well for the opening 25 minutes, there was a certain inevitability about Hibs falling behind. From a set-piece, eh? Whodathunkit?

In fairness, they actually cleared the ball from a corner into the box. But, when Daniel Armstrong returned it from the right flank, Ndaba leapt above Vente – and the combined efforts of the Killie centre-half and the Hibs striker sent the ball looping beyond David Marshall.

What happened after the opener was hard to explain in terms either tactical or technical. Unless you can find useful FIFA terminology to describe the process of a team’s confidence and competence completely disintegrating.

Kilmarnock absolutely battered the visitors for a good 10 minutes and, with a bit more accuracy, Matthew Kennedy and Ndaba (again) might have increased the home team’s lead. In response, Emiliano Marcondes had a shot saved by Kieran O’Hara – and there was a half-hearted penalty shout when Dylan Levitt’s effort strike hit a Killie arm.

The home side went two up early in the second half, the Hibs defence – and especially David Marshall – were exposed by a fizzing Daniel Armstrong ball that found Kennedy at the back post. It’s a horrible goal for any team to lose.

Monty’s triple replacement seemed to do the trick, adding energy to a team on their knees. Newell’s right-footed strike from a deflected Whittaker inswinger was a thing of absolute beauty. And then, picked out by a raking Levitt pass, Maolida twisted, turned, spun and rifled a shot beyond O’Hara.

Hibs had to settle for a point. All things considered, that’s no bad return from a day when they swung between extremes.

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