Kilmarnock 1-0 Hibs: Brophy penalty sinks sorry Hibs
Paul Heckingbottom suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time as Hibs produced a lacklustre display in going down to Kilmarnock. A first half penalty from Eamonn Brophy, awarded as Hibs skipper David Gray and Killie defender Alex Bruce tussled inside the box, was enough to send the Easter Road side back to Edinburgh empty handed.
Kilmarnock, desperate to regain third place in the Premiership table, went at Hibs from the start, defender Bruce powering in a long-range shot which goalkeeper Ofir Marciano managed to take at the second attempt.
Heckingbottom had expressed the fear that his side had gone flat after having the carrot of a place in next season's Europa League taken from them an din the early stages it certainly looked that way.
But slowly they got a grip of things, Stephane Omeonga testing Killie goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann with a low shot having earlier seen Marc McNulty apparently taken by surprise as the little Belgian Under-21 midfielder played the ball in to his feet inside the home penalty area.
Killie went close when Greg Taylor's cross caught the junction of Marciano's right hand post and the bar before the Rugby Park outfit went ahead thanks to a contentious penalty decision, referee Andrew Dallas pointing to the spot having judged that Gray had fouled Bruce as they went for a Chris Burke corner. Gray protested his innocence but Brophy stepped up to drill the ball down the middle and into the net.
Brophy should have wrapped up the points for Steve Clarke;s side ten minutes into the second half. The striker was left with only Marciano to beat but pulled his shot wide of the goalkeeper's right hand post. Marciano ensured Killie would remain just one goal ahead, the Israeli internationalist racing from his line to get down at the feet of Taylor after Burke's pass had left him clear.
Hibs had lacked zip so it came as no surprise when Heckingbottom made a triple substitution in a bid to add that to their game, Daryl Horgan, Thomas Agyepong and Oli Shaw replacing Omeonga, Flo Kamberi and McNulty 25 minutes from time.
But it was to no avail as Killie comfortably held onto their narrow lead although Bachmann was forced to tip over a late effort from Agyepong.
Kilmarnock: Bachmann, O'Donnell, Bruce, Findlay (K boyd 86), Taylor, Power, Dicker, Mulumbu, McKenzie, Burke (Millar 79), Brophy (McAleny 73).
Substitutes not used: MacDonald, Ndjoli, Waters, Millen.
Hibs: Marciano, Gray, McGregor, Hanlon, Stevenson, Mallan, Milligan, Omeonga (Horgan 65), F Murray, McNulty (Shaw 65), Kamberi (Agyepong 65).
Substitutes not used: Bogdan, Bartley, Gauld, Spector.
Referee: Andrew Dallas