Match ends, Hibernian 2, Motherwell 0.
Hibernian 2-0 Motherwell: Marc McNulty and David Gray on target in impressive win
Hibernian extended their unbeaten Scottish Premiership record under Paul Heckingbottom to five games with a superb performance against Motherwell.
Marc McNulty celebrated his Scotland call-up with a penalty and David Gray headed the second before half-time.
Hibs have now taken 13 points from 15 under Heckingbottom to move to within two of fifth-placed Hearts.
Motherwell stay seventh, five points behind Hibs, after just a second league defeat in nine games.
The Lanarkshire side almost took the lead inside 22 seconds when Hibs full-back Lewis Stevenson fired the ball against his own post.
But Hibs quickly took control, with striker McNulty and and Irish winger Daryl Horgan stand-outs in a dominant victory.
No stopping slick Hibs
You need to go back to January 1996 for last goalless draw between these sides and, with only 22 seconds gone, the visitors came close to ensuring that record was maintained. The impressive Gboly Ariyibi swept past David Gray down the left and sent a deep cross to the back post, where Stevenson's attempted clearance came back off the upright.
The heavy rain ensured the pitch was slick and the home side were keen to get the ball to the feet of Horgan at every opportunity. His teasing cross from the right was met by McNulty, whose header was blocked by the knees of goalkeeper Mark Gillespie.
The pair, though, were to combine again for the penalty. Horgan again got the better of Richard Tait and the cutback was straight into the path of the former Livingston striker. His shot was blocked by the arm of Tom Aldred and McNulty's spot-kick was as good as you will see, giving Gillespie no chance.
Just after the half hour, Hibs captain Gray looked like he was struggling to continue after a knee knock, but after receiving attention, he returned to the pitch to score Hibs' second. Stevie Mallan swept a corner in from the left, and Gray thundered a header into the net.
Gray continued until three minutes after the break but was then forced off, with Sean Mackie his replacement.
The visitors appeared roused after that and Curtis Main warmed the palms of Ofir Marciano from distance as the Lanarkshire side looked to get a foothold back in the game. But it was Hibs who came closest as Horgan blasted wide with the goal gaping.
Danny Johnson did have the ball in the net in stoppage time but it was ruled out for a foul on Marciano and Hibs cemented their place in the top six with three games to go before the split.
'More than just a bounce' - analysis
When a club changes manager it's fair to say "a bounce" factor can come into play. However, Hibernian are now well beyond that period with Heckingbottom. Only Celtic in the Scottish Cup have beaten the Leith club since the change was made and the memories of Neil Lennon are becoming distant with every game.
It does help, of course, when you have a striker in terrific form. McNulty has been a revelation since arriving on loan from Reading in January and may get the opportunity to shine for Scotland next week.
Stephen Robinson was supposed to be celebrating his 100th match in charge of Motherwell. However, there was little to shout about. Jake Hastie and David Turnbull have rightly received plaudits in recent weeks but the pair were kept quiet.
Defeat leaves Motherwell in seventh spot and five points behind Hibs. With only three games left before the split, their chances of finishing in the top half look look slim.
McNulty's 'brilliant week' - reaction
Hibs manager Paul Heckingbotton: "I'm delighted with our performance and result against the in-form team in the league. Two nil is probably fair but I would have liked a third.
"We just want to keep winning games and performing well. We'll fight to get into the top six. A short-term goal is getting into the top six but I'm pleased with the three points and the performance today."
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson: "The game was summed up in the first minute. Ball hit the post, came back out, hit Jake Hastie and then went out.
"We conceded from two set-plays. We dominated possession in the bottom two thirds but we were missing 10% up front today. The three players up front weren't quite at it and that was the difference."
- 2GrayBooked at 33minsSubstituted forMackieat 47'minutesBooked at 53mins
- 7HorganSubstituted forMurrayat 85'minutes
- 8SlivkaSubstituted forBartleyat 72'minutes
- 5AldredBooked at 19mins
- 8CampbellSubstituted forFrearat 68'minutes
- 23GorrinBooked at 78mins
- 9MainSubstituted forScottat 68'minutes
- 12AriyibiSubstituted forJohnsonat 76'minutes
- Kevin Clancy
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Hibernian 2, Motherwell 0.
(Hibernian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Tom Aldred (Motherwell).
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Mark Milligan.
Attempt blocked. Danny Johnson (Motherwell) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Attempt saved. Danny Johnson (Motherwell) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Attempt blocked. Marc McNulty (Hibernian) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.
Attempt missed. Danny Johnson (Motherwell) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Substitution, Hibernian. Fraser Murray replaces Daryl Horgan.
Foul by Marvin Bartley (Hibernian).
James Scott (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Tom Aldred (Motherwell) header from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Lewis Stevenson.
Foul by Lewis Stevenson (Hibernian).
Richard Tait (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Alex Rodriguez (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Marvin Bartley (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Alex Rodriguez (Motherwell).
Substitution, Motherwell. Danny Johnson replaces Gboly Ariyibi.
Attempt missed. Florian Kamberi (Hibernian) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right.
Substitution, Hibernian. Marvin Bartley replaces Vykintas Slivka.
Attempt missed. Daryl Horgan (Hibernian) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left following a corner.
Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Liam Grimshaw.
Substitution, Motherwell. James Scott replaces Curtis Main.
Substitution, Motherwell. Elliott Frear replaces Allan Campbell.
Attempt missed. Paul Hanlon (Hibernian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high following a corner.
Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Allan Campbell.
Attempt saved. Daryl Horgan (Hibernian) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Stephen Mallan (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Curtis Main (Motherwell).
Florian Kamberi (Hibernian) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Jake Hastie (Motherwell).
Foul by Stephen Mallan (Hibernian).
Jake Hastie (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt saved. Curtis Main (Motherwell) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Sean Mackie (Hibernian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Jake Hastie (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Sean Mackie (Hibernian).
Foul by Stephane Omeonga (Hibernian).