Raith Rovers 0 Hibs 0: Bartley sees red as Hibs held to draw
Hibs were reduced to ten men for the third time in their last four Championship matches as midfielder Marvin Bartley saw red in an ill-tempered match at Stark's Park.
Bartley, who had his sending off against Ayr United rescinded last month, was dismissed in the 37th minute, apparently kicking out at Bobby Barr right under the nose of referee Stephen Finnie after he was fouled by the Raith player.
Despite playing most of the game short-handed the Edinburgh club were the better side, particularly after the interval but with that handicap were forced to settle for a no-scoring draw which, incredibly sent them top of the table following Queen of the South's shock defeat by Morton.
The first half was as miserable as the Fife weather, the game riddled with errors and strewn with free-kicks with neither side able to exert any control of affairs.
Hibs made a jittery start although Rovers were unable to capitalise on their nerves, the travelling support from Edinburgh behind Ofir Marciano's goal subdued as their side struggled to end a run of four games without a win.
But it was the Easter Road side which went closest to scoring, Paul Hanlon stooping to meet James Keatings' corner to send in a glancing header which clipped the top of goalkeeper Kevin Cuthbert's cross bar.,
Hibs, though, were left a man short for more than 50 minutes after Bartley was sent off following a clash with Rovers' Bobby Barr.. Referee Stephen Finnie awarded the Capital side the foul but produced a red card for the obviously distraught Hibs midfielder, the reason not immediately clear but the suggestion being he had kicked out at his opponent.
Neil Lennon was clearly angered, confronting Finnie as the teams made their way to the dressing rooms at half-time.
Hibs had to balance being short-handed with seeking to get themselves ahead, veteran striker Grant Holt showing the battling spirit required as he raced from one end of the pitch to the other to pull off an important interception as Raith tried to hit on the break,
And it was actually Hibs who were the better side at this time despite being a man down, James Keatings firing in a low cross which just eluded the out-stretched boot of Holt before the striker himself delivered an inviting ball which David Gray couldn't reach.
The Hibs support had finally found their voice and they made it heard as loud claims for a penalty were made as Jean-Yves M'Voto appeared to handle the ball but referee Finnie had spotted an earlier infringement by an Easter Road player.
Raith Rovers: Cuthbert, Davidson, M'Voto, Benedictus, McHattie, Matthews, Thompson (Johnston 88), Callachan, Barr, Skacel (Vaughan 65), McManus (Stewart 72).
Substitutes not used: Brennan, Coustrain, Roberts.
Hibs: Marciano, Gray, McGregor, Hanlon, Stevenson, Bartely, Fyvie, McGinn, Keatings (Boyle 83), Cummings, Holt (Graham 83).
Substitutes: Laidlaw, Shinnie, Forster, Eardley, Harris.
Referee: Stephen Finnie.