Kilmarnock 1-2 Hibs: Craig double seals first win

Hero: Liam Craig celebrates. Picture: SNS
Hero: Liam Craig celebrates. Picture: SNS
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Liam Craig struck twice as Hibs came from behind to clinch their first win of the season.

A Barry Nicholson thunderbolt had given Kilmarnock a first-half lead but Craig nodded Hibs level just 90 seconds after the interval and the former St Johnstone midfielder clinched the three points as he held off former Hearts defender Darren Barr to gather Lewis Stevenson’s long ball before lofting it over goalkeeper Craig Samson ten minutes from time.

Fenlon made three changes to the side which collected Hibs first point against Dundee United, goalscorer Scott Robertson dropping out having failed to shake off a groin injury while the suspended Kevin Thomson was also missing alongside Fraser Mullen.

Ryan McGivern came in at left back for his first start of the season with Owain Tudur Jones and Tom Taiwo filling the vacant berths in midfield.

Hibs had the ball in the net after only six minutes, Tudur Jones playing an inviting pass across the face of the Killie goal for Rowan Vine to tap home at the back post. Unfortunately for the Capital club the striker had strayed offside.

Other than that, there was little to trouble either goalkeeper until Kilmarnock took the lead in spectacular fashion in the 22nd minute. There appeared to be little danger as Mark Stewart headed Jackson Irvine’s long ball down for Nicholson 25 yards out.

But the midfielder met the ball on the volley to hammer in a shot which exploded into the top corner of Ben Williams’ net with the goalkeeper totally helpless.

In truth, it was all Kilmarnock had done up to that point , Hibs having enjoyed the bulk of possession without forcing Craig Samson into a save but the hom eside almost went two up in the 34th minute, Paul Heffernan meeting Sean Clohessy’s driven cross at the near post only to turn it over.

However, Hibs hauled themselves level only 90 seconds after the interval, Vine throwing in a cross from the right which Craig judged perfectly, peeling off his marker to head the ball back across goal and in off the far post.

Hibs badly needed that goal and Vine did well to hold off Darren Barr as he powered into the Killie penalty area only to see his pass fail to find strike partner James Collins.

Kilmarnock, though, almost went ahead again in the 65th minute as Mark O’Hara’s clipped pass found Mark Stewart in space. HIs shot looked to be inching wide but Williams took no chances,. getting down to push it away.

At the other end Samson also wasn’t going to be beaten as he dealt with a low shot from Tudur Jones, the goalkeeper going down to his right to get a strong hand to the ball.

But Samson was beaten ten minutes from the end as Craig won the battle with Barr to loft the ball over the stranded goalkeeper and so earn Hibs a precious win.

Kilmarnock: Samson, Tesselaar, Fowler (Johnston 88), Irvine, Barr, Nicholson, Heffernan (Gross 77), Clohessy, Ibrahim, Stewart, O’Hara. Subs not used: Requero, McKeown, Fisher, Slater, Pascali.

Hibs: Williams, Stevenson, Nelson, Hanlon, McGivern, Handling, Tudur Jones, Taiwo (Horribine 90), Craig, Collins (Caldwell 77), Vine (Stanton 84). Subs not used: Sean Murdoch, Maybury, Forster, Cummings.

Referee: Kevin Clancy.

Attendance: 3807