Kilmarnock had the opportunity to move second in the Premiership table should they get the better of one of only two Premiership sides they haven’t beaten under Steve Clarke’s stewardship, Hibs.
Killie made four changes following their stalemate in Perth. Eamonn Brophy returned to the starting line-up following his injury as Kris Boyd made way. Stuart Findlay dropped out in defence, replaced by Scott Boyd. Rory McKenzie and Jordan Jones also came into the midfield with Chris Burke and Mikael Ndjoli taking a place on the bench.
Neil Lennon’s Hibs made three changes and opted to select Efe Ambrose in a midfield position in an unorthodox 3-5-2 formation. Darren McGregor and Steven Whittaker came back into defence. Miguel Nelom started for the first time as one of seven defence-minded players in the 11. The changes coming at the expense of Daryl Horgan, Lewis Stevenson and Jamie Maclaren.
Brophy back with a bang
It took just six minutes for Killie to edge ahead when a quickly taken Jordan Jones throw in found Greg Stewart. He cut inside before playing the ball to the fit again Eamonn Brophy to fire past Adam Bogdan. Scored against the Hibees at Easter Road in September, he scores in the reverse at Rugby Park.
Steven Whittaker sent a diagonal pass for Martin Boyle to take down. The now-Australia international blazed just over with his weaker left foot as Hibs looked to get back on level terms almost instantly.
Rory McKenzie flashed one just wide after receiving from Jordan Jones. He was brought down in the box himself, following an exchange of neat passes, by Darren McGregor. The Northern Irishman was at the forefront of all Kilmarnock created.
Eamonn Brophy would therefore have the chance to double his tally for the afternoon. The former Hamilton Accies frontman would do so to double Killie’s advantage, sending Adam Bogdan the wrong way.
Second half, different story
Daryl Horgan came off the bench for Hibs at half time and sent a shot, on the turn, straight at Bachmann in the Killie goal. Hibs had created very little up to then, the first shot the Austrian had to make.
Then a bizarre moment occurred as the floodlights cut out to pause the action.
Firstly, Horgan was looking to play provider to fellow sub Oli Shaw. He headed his cross onto the bottom of the post. This was before Bachmann was able to deny Horgan, one of the visitors’ best players and he didn’t even start, with a decent save.
The floodlights were to cut out again
If anything, Hibernian probably felt they had more chance getting something from the game should it be abandoned than their display within the 90 here. Greg Stewart’s freekick was to be headed wide by Scott Boyd before Greg Stewart ought to have finished off an excellent Killie counter.
Stephen O’Donnell with a lung bursting run, cut back to Aaron Tshibola off the bench. The midfielder slid towards Greg Stewart who blasted high into the stand. It really should have been good night Hibernian.
But Greg Stewart would be able to kill the game off once and for all in stoppage time. Chris Burke, another substitute, broke through the middle of the park. He then played in the forward, who dinked the ball over Bogdan and grabbed the goal his performance merited.
Killie, now up to second, host Livingston in midweek at Rugby Park. Hibs are also at home, playing host to St Mirren.