Scottish Premiership
Hibernian2Kilmarnock1

Hibernian 2-1 Kilmarnock: Martin Boyle's double clinches home win

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Highlights: Hibernian 2-1 Kilmarnock

Hibernian showed new defensive steel in opening their Scottish Premiership campaign with victory over Kilmarnock, says head coach Jack Ross.

Hibs held the visitors at bay in the second half, defending a series of crosses, as Martin Boyle's double sealed a 2-1 triumph.

Ross' men surrendered winning positions in nine fixtures last term, and will be encouraged to have seen the game out.

"We had to show different qualities," Ross told BBC Scotland.

"We carried that attacking threat that I believe we will always do. I would have liked to have had more control of the game but we played a good team.

"We had to defend resolutely and I was pleased we did that today, it's something we've worked hard on and rectified from last season."

This was an entertaining opening-day contest, Kilmarnock enjoying long spells in possession and proving especially dangerous down the flanks, while Hibs' technicians lacerated them on the counter-attack.

Nisbet sent Boyle galloping through in the fourth minute, the striker taking advantage of Jake Eastwood's ill-advised 20-yard dash from goal to skip past the goalkeeper and calmly finish.

The Australian international pounced again half an hour later after being teed up by a swaggering run and lay-off from Scott Allan. Eastwood was replaced at the interval, with Kilmarnock manager Alex Dyer later revealing the on-loan stopper had pulled his quadriceps.

Chris Burke's thunderous, laced free-kick from nearly 30 yards brought Kilmarnock roaring back, but while their crosses into the Hibs box often gave the hosts palpitations, they were unable to apply a killer touch.

Ofir Marciano leaped to his left to prevent Paul Hanlon flicking into his own net, while Danny Whitehall looped a header over the bar in the dying minutes.

Man of the match - Martin Boyle

Martin Boyle scores for Hibernian
With his searing pace and deadly finishing, Boyle was a menace to Kilmarnock's defence. If Hibs can keep him, he will win them more games this season.

What did we learn?

Jack Ross' men had no issues finding the net last season, but were woefully soft at the back, shipping only two fewer goals than bottom side Hearts. Alex Gogic added ballast to the midfield and 18-year-old Josh Doig was a composed presence on debut down the left. With virtually the same personnel in defence, though, Hibs still looked vulnerable to crosses.

They put their bodies on the line when it mattered, though. Having squandered nine leads last term, they will take the three points and run. But on this evidence, there are still defensive frailties to address.

For much of the game, Kilmarnock bossed possession, popping the ball around neatly in midfield. They were disciplined and brave in those moments, but the worry for Alex Dyer will be adding ruthlessness to promising build-up.

Too often, the visitors lacked a defence-bamboozling pass, a telling turn of pace, or a clinical finish. That was the difference.

What did they say?

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Hibs boss Ross pleased with defensive resolve

Hibernian head coach Jack Ross: "Ryan Porteous rolled his ankle in the first half, but testament to his character, he wanted to come through the whole game. He's been a huge plus for me, and he has looked good during pre-season.

"Martin Boyle is a huge asset for me and the way we play, particularly with the threat we have on the counterattack. He understands fully how important he is to me and he showed that again today."

Kilmarnock manager Alex Dyer: "I'm disappointed. I thought we could have got something out of the game. But I'm proud of the boys; they worked hard and created a lot of chances.

"Jake Eastwood [who came off at half-time] was injured. He pulled his quad and I had to change him. If he wasn't injured, he would have stayed on the pitch. I've got no worries with him."

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'Disappointed' Dyer thinks Kilmarnock could have got something

What's next?

Hibs travel to Livingston, who went unbeaten in their final six home league games of last season, next Saturday. Kilmarnock host champions Celtic a day later.

Line-ups

Hibernian

  • 1Marciano
  • 6McGinnBooked at 68mins
  • 5Porteous
  • 4Hanlon
  • 8WrightSubstituted forStevensonat 70'minutes
  • 23AllanSubstituted forHorganat 61'minutes
  • 13Gogic
  • 11Newell
  • 25DoigSubstituted forDoidgeat 70'minutes
  • 10Boyle
  • 15NisbetSubstituted forHallbergat 89'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Gray
  • 7Horgan
  • 9Doidge
  • 12Murray
  • 16Stevenson
  • 19Gullan
  • 20Hallberg
  • 21Dabrowski
  • 24McGregor

Kilmarnock

  • 1EastwoodSubstituted forRogersat 45'minutes
  • 22Millen
  • 5Broadfoot
  • 17Findlay
  • 18Waters
  • 6PowerBooked at 77mins
  • 27TshibolaSubstituted forWhitehallat 84'minutes
  • 29Burke
  • 10KiltieSubstituted forBrophyat 75'minutes
  • 7McKenzie
  • 11Kabamba

Substitutes

  • 2McGowan
  • 8Dicker
  • 9Brophy
  • 12Whitehall
  • 14Rossi
  • 15El Makrini
  • 23Rogers
  • 31Cameron
  • 32Brindley
Referee:
John Beaton

Match Stats

Home TeamHibernianAway TeamKilmarnock
Possession
Home45%
Away55%
Shots
Home11
Away12
Shots on Target
Home3
Away2
Corners
Home5
Away4
Fouls
Home13
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Hibernian 2, Kilmarnock 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Hibernian 2, Kilmarnock 1.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Stuart Findlay.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Nicke Kabamba (Kilmarnock).

  5. Post update

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

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Eamonn Brophy (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Kirk Broadfoot.

  7. Post update

    Attempt missed. Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left.

  8. Post update

    Offside, Hibernian. Christian Doidge tries a through ball, but Lewis Stevenson is caught offside.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Hibernian. Melker Hallberg replaces Kevin Nisbet.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Daniel Whitehall (Kilmarnock).

  11. Post update

    Paul Hanlon (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Daniel Whitehall (Kilmarnock) header from very close range is too high. Assisted by Ross Millen with a cross.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Kirk Broadfoot.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Eamonn Brophy (Kilmarnock).

  15. Post update

    Alexander Gogic (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Kilmarnock. Daniel Whitehall replaces Aaron Tshibola because of an injury.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Calum Waters (Kilmarnock).

  18. Post update

    Penalty Hibernian. Ryan Porteous draws a foul in the penalty area.

  19. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Calum Waters.

  20. Post update

    Attempt missed. Christian Doidge (Hibernian) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Joe Newell with a cross.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Hibernian11002113
2Rangers11001013
3St Mirren11001013
4Dundee Utd10101101
5St Johnstone10101101
6Celtic00000000
7Hamilton00000000
8Motherwell00000000
9Ross County00000000
10Kilmarnock100112-10
11Aberdeen100101-10
12Livingston100101-10
View full Scottish Premiership table

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