‘Banana skin written all over it’: Journalists’ predictions for Hibs v Kilmarnock
Our online team give their predictions as Hibs try to make it seven games undefeated in the Ladbrokes Premiership under Paul Heckingbottom.
Mark Atkinson: The home team has prevailed in recent meetings between these two. However, I think this will be a stern test of Paul Heckingbottom’s resurgent Hibs. Killie have rediscovered their mojo after a couple of indifferent months and have the momentum in the race for third place. This should be a good match between two in-form outfits and I predict a score draw.
Craig Fowler: Hibs are flying. They’re a completely changed outfit since the arrival of Heckingbottom and last Friday showed their ability to win matches by outfighting the opposition as well as outplaying them, which should bode well for the visit of Steve Clarke’s Kilmarnock. However, I can’t shake the feeling that this has ‘banana skin’ written all over it. The Rugby Park side haven’t enjoyed the best time of it in 2019 after Greg Stewart’s departure derailed any hope of them maintaining their title bid, but they’ve managed to string together a run of three games undefeated with a 5-0 win over Hamilton and draw at Ibrox among them. They might just surprise their hosts on Wednesday night. Prediction: Killie win.
Anthony Brown: Apart from their wretched 3-0 defeat at Rugby Park four months ago, Hibs generally have a good recent record against Kilmarnock. They go into this one in far better fettle than when they visited Ayrshire under Neil Lennon at the start of December, while Killie’s form has dipped since then. Hibs, fuelled by the prospect of catching the three teams currently above them, are entitled to fancy their chances of making it six league wins out of seven under Paul Heckingbottom. Home win
Patrick McPartlin: Pre-Heckingbottom, I’d have written “Kilmarnock to win comfortably” several times over and that would have been that. However, Hibs are a different prospect under the new head coach, and combined with Killie’s tendency to struggle at Easter Road - they’ve only won three times in their last 15 visits - and relatively ordinary form on the road, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a home win. It’s true Killie scored five in their last home game against Hamilton, but by all accounts it was a feeble performance from Accies, and although it will undoubtedly give the visitors a lift, I can see Hibs grinding out the narrowest of wins and continuing their impressive run. Prediction: Hibs win
Neil McGlade: Hibs are thriving under Heckingbottom and although their latest win at Livingston wasn’t a vintage performance, they managed to get the job done. If the Easter Road men are to keep their chances alive of a third-placed finish then this is a game they really need to win. That alone is testament to the job the new management team have overseen in a short period of time. But Killie are third for a reason and have some talented individuals who are more than capable of causing Hibs problems. Draw
Joel Sked: You cannot argue with the record under Paul Heckingbottom, but there can be questions about aspects of the team’s play. They weren’t at their best in wins at Livingston and St Johnstone, while the win at Dundee showed vulnerabilities at the back. They will be tested by Killie. Steve Clarke’s side seem over their blip having drawn at Ibrox and thumped Hamilton. Draw
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