Hibernian cast aside their insecurities to take the advantage in the Premiership play-off final first leg against Hamilton at New Douglas Park.

They were expected to struggle against Accies, but it was the Championship side that flagged after goals either side of half-time by Jason Cummings, the first two goals of his career.

Hibs match facts

  • Hibs won for the first time since 15 February
  • Their two-goal haul was the first time they had netted twice away from home since 5 January
  • Jason Cummings's brace makes him only the second player to score more than once for Hibs in a match this season

The opener was a strike from distance that Kevin Cuthbert should have saved.

Then a close-range chip gave Terry Butcher's side a comfortable lead.

But there were other regrets for the home side, since Tony Andreu and Ali Crawford both saw second-half efforts blocked by Hibs goalkeeper Ben Williams.

Endurance was obligatory. This was only the opening 90 minutes of the Premiership play-off, with the second leg to come in Edinburgh on Sunday, but as well as the physical demands there were mental pressures to contend with.

Hibs had to overcome their own crisis of confidence as well as the perky confidence of their Championship hosts.

From every perspective, this tie was potentially a fearful occasion for Butcher's men. They came into it having won only once in their last 19 games, whereas their opponents were on a run of only one loss in 15 matches.

Hamilton have also revelled in a bountiful supply of goals this season, while the scarcity of reliable scorers at Hibs has been a critical flaw.

Butcher has never shirked a confrontation, though, and he made bold choices in his starting line-up. They might have arisen from a sense that there was nothing left to lose, but it was still risky to select Paul Heffernan, who has only just returned from injury, and the youngsters Sam Stanton, Alex Harris and Cummings for such a critical tie.

The reward was a refusal to be cowed. Hamilton had sensed a fragility in Hibs' psyche, and the intention was to prey on it. Accies boss Alex Neil spoke beforehand of his team's confidence and the certainties of his decision-making, as though Hibs could initially be diminished by comparison.

There was a forthright air to the home side, though, and it was epitomised by the aggressive running of Mikael Antoine-Curier.

Subtlety was cast aside as an irrelevance whenever the centre-forward set off on one of his thunderous forward surges, but the lack of composure eventually told when it came to delivering the final ball or taking a shot at goal.

He ought, for instance, to have tried to head the ball when he reached it before Williams, following a poor defensive header. The volley cannoned off the goalkeeper to safety.

Hamilton were capable of some cohesive passages of play, but raggedness was always evident as they tried to make something happen in front of goal. That anxiety was understandable, but the occasion demanded cooler heads.

Louis Longridge should have done better than shoot over when he found a corner of space inside the penalty area. The rashness could be excused as players being overly-eager to make an impact. Even so, it was damaging for Hamilton, particularly when the mis-judgement spread to Cuthbert in goal.

Jason Cummings scores for Hibernian against Hamilton

Cummings' opener dipped and swerved on its way into the net

He seemed to be well-positioned to take Cummings's shot from 25 yards and while the ball might have swerved in mid-air, it still seemed to brush the goalkeeper's hands on its way in. Relief was probably the more powerful response for Hibs.

It certainly lasted the interval, since the second half was barely 10 minutes old when 18-year-old Cummings added his second.

A run and cross by Heffernan ended with the ball landing at the teenager's feet inside the penalty area and he could call upon the poise and presence of mind to chip a shot over the line, although Ziggy Gordon hacked the ball away and the officials paused briefly before confirming the goal.

Desperation became the driving force for Hamilton. There were moments of hope, but even the generally impressive Andreu could only bemoan his luck when Williams blocked at his feet from close range.

Then Williams scrambled away Crawford's shot from distance.

"You're staying down with the Jambos," sang the Hibs fans in reference to relegated city rivals Hearts. That outcome is not yet sealed, but a weight has been lifted from the Easter Road side.

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (5)

Hamilton Academical

  • 01 Cuthbert
  • 06 Gillespie
  • 02 Gordon
  • 08 Routledge (Crawford - 84' )
  • 05 Canning Booked
  • 24 Tena
  • 22 Andreu
  • 18 MacKinnon
  • 99 Antoine-Curier
  • 17 Longridge (Scotland - 73' )
  • 07 Keatings (Ryan - 52' )

Substitutes

  • 04 Devlin
  • 10 Neil
  • 11 Crawford
  • 19 Currie
  • 32 Ryan
  • 33 Kilday
  • 50 Scotland

Hibernian

  • 01 Williams
  • 18 Maybury
  • 16 Stevenson
  • 10 Craig
  • 05 Nelson Booked
  • 03 McGivern
  • 07 Harris
  • 08 Robertson Booked (Tudur Jones - 90' )
  • 35 Cummings (Cairney - 85' )
  • 26 Stanton
  • 24 Heffernan

Substitutes

  • 11 Cairney
  • 14 Collins
  • 17 Tudur Jones
  • 21 Murdoch
  • 23 Forster
  • 33 Haynes
  • 38 Thomson
Ref: Bobby Madden
Att: 5,322

Match Stats

Shots

11 6

On target

4 2

Corners

5 2

Fouls

11 13

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Hamilton Academical 0, Hibernian 2.

90:00 +4:15 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Hamilton Academical 0, Hibernian 2.

90:00 +2:49

Attempt missed. Liam Craig (Hibernian) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

90:00 +1:30 Booking

Booking Michael Nelson (Hibernian) is shown the yellow card.

90:00 +1:21

Tony Andreu (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +1:21

Foul by Michael Nelson (Hibernian).

89:54

Attempt missed. Ali Crawford (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

89:05 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Hibernian. Owain Tudur-Jones replaces Scott Robertson.

88:51

Jason Scotland (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

88:51

Foul by Samuel Stanton (Hibernian).

87:20

Attempt saved. Ali Crawford (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

85:15

Ziggy Gordon (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick on the right wing.

85:15

Foul by Paul Cairney (Hibernian).

84:13 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Hibernian. Paul Cairney replaces Jason Cummings.

83:55 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Ali Crawford replaces Jon Routledge.

81:58 Booking

Booking Martin Canning (Hamilton Academical) is shown the yellow card.

81:52

Foul by Martin Canning (Hamilton Academical).

81:52

Liam Craig (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

80:19

Foul by Jason Scotland (Hamilton Academical).

80:19

Alan Maybury (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

76:58

Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Martin Canning.

76:06

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

76:05

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

75:41

Delay in match Jason Cummings (Hibernian) because of an injury.

75:20

Foul by Jesus Garcia Tena (Hamilton Academical).

75:20

Scott Robertson (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

74:12

Corner, Hamilton Academical. Conceded by Ben Williams.

74:04

Attempt saved. Andy Ryan (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal.

72:58 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Jason Scotland replaces Louis Longridge.

72:27

Foul by Tony Andreu (Hamilton Academical).

72:27

Liam Craig (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

70:55

Attempt missed. Louis Longridge (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right.

70:12

Foul by Andy Ryan (Hamilton Academical).

70:12

Lewis Stevenson (Hibernian) wins a free kick on the right wing.

69:15

Attempt saved. Mickael Antoine-Curier (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

67:57

Jesus Garcia Tena (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

67:57

Foul by Alex Harris (Hibernian).

64:09

Attempt missed. Samuel Stanton (Hibernian) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

63:28

Foul by Louis Longridge (Hamilton Academical).

63:28

Liam Craig (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

61:43

Hand ball by Paul Heffernan (Hibernian).

59:27

Jesus Garcia Tena (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick on the right wing.

59:27

Foul by Paul Heffernan (Hibernian).

58:02

Corner, Hamilton Academical. Conceded by Ryan McGivern.

57:42

Attempt blocked. Martin Canning (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from very close range is blocked.

56:49

Corner, Hamilton Academical. Conceded by Ryan McGivern.

55:25

Mickael Antoine-Curier (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

55:25

Foul by Scott Robertson (Hibernian).

54:19 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Hamilton Academical 0, Hibernian 2. Jason Cummings (Hibernian) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Paul Heffernan.

51:19 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Andy Ryan replaces James Keatings.

46:19

Mickael Antoine-Curier (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

46:19

Foul by Ryan McGivern (Hibernian).

45:00

Second Half begins Hamilton Academical 0, Hibernian 1.

45:00 +0:19 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Hamilton Academical 0, Hibernian 1.

42:58

Attempt saved. Mickael Antoine-Curier (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal.

41:26

Ziggy Gordon (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

41:26

Foul by Alex Harris (Hibernian).

38:41 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Hamilton Academical 0, Hibernian 1. Jason Cummings (Hibernian) left footed shot from outside the box to the high centre of the goal.

36:33

Attempt missed. Louis Longridge (Hamilton Academical) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left.

34:10

Foul by Ziggy Gordon (Hamilton Academical).

34:10

Alex Harris (Hibernian) wins a free kick on the right wing.

33:42

Attempt missed. Scott Robertson (Hibernian) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

32:38

Foul by Jesus Garcia Tena (Hamilton Academical).

32:38

Paul Heffernan (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

30:00

Darian MacKinnon (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

29:53

Foul by Scott Robertson (Hibernian).

29:18

Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Ziggy Gordon.

23:55

Attempt missed. Mickael Antoine-Curier (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is too high.

20:49 Booking

Booking Scott Robertson (Hibernian) is shown the yellow card.

20:43

Tony Andreu (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

20:43

Foul by Scott Robertson (Hibernian).

17:37

Attempt blocked. James Keatings (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is blocked.

16:29

Foul by Scott Robertson (Hibernian).

16:29

Darian MacKinnon (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

14:10

Samuel Stanton (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

14:10

Foul by Jesus Garcia Tena (Hamilton Academical).

13:19

Attempt missed. James Keatings (Hamilton Academical) header from the left side of the six yard box is too high.

12:48

Corner, Hamilton Academical. Conceded by Jason Cummings.

12:07

Corner, Hamilton Academical. Conceded by Ryan McGivern.

11:28

Attempt missed. Scott Robertson (Hibernian) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

11:00

Alex Harris (Hibernian) wins a free kick on the left wing.

10:59

Foul by James Keatings (Hamilton Academical).

1:31

Foul by Liam Craig (Hibernian).

1:31

Darian MacKinnon (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

0:22

Ryan McGivern (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

0:22

Foul by Mickael Antoine-Curier (Hamilton Academical).

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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