Scottish Premiership
HibernianHibernian2KilmarnockKilmarnock0

Hibernian 2-0 Kilmarnock: Jack Ross says playing 'ugly' lifted side into third

By Clive LindsayBBC Sport Scotland

Hibernian did the "ugly side of the game well" to beat Kilmarnock and move into third place in the Scottish Premiership, head coach Jack Ross says.

An Alan Power own goal and a thundering Alex Gogic drive won an untidy game on a rutted Easter Road surface.

Ross said "it's not always pretty" but put the victory down to being more direct after the half-time interval.

Hibs' first win in five outings ended Kilmarnock's recent revival after three games without defeat.

"I've said it often during the course of the season about the result being the all and end all and, for us in the conditions and with it being so blustery and the fact the pitch isn't in great condition at the moment, means that it was going to be a game decided by fine margins and by doing the ugly side of the game well and I thought we did that," Ross told BBC Scotland.

"We defended our box well and, in the second half in particular, I think we played forward quicker. I think it suited the conditions to do that and, as a consequence, we created a lot more."

It secured a fourth win in a row over the seventh-placed Ayrshire side, who have not won at Easter Road in seven visits, and lifts Ross' side a point above Aberdeen, who lost away to Ross County.

There was much anticipation about how Hibs' two midweek signings would fare, especially when Jackson Irvine was thrown straight into action from the start.

The Australia midfielder, released by Hull City in June, is no stranger to the state of Scottish pitches, Easter Road being his fifth top-flight home, so you imagined that rustiness from not playing competitively since March was to blame as he landed ungainly on his backside attempting an early touch.

However, he was not the only one to struggle during a first half when Paul McGinn's languid shot straight at Kilmarnock goalkeeper Danny Rogers in the opening seconds was the only effort on target.

Hibs head coach Ross brought back Martin Boyle from injury, but it appeared that opposite number Alex Dyer had made the right decision by dropping equally influential winger Chris Burke to the bench given the difficult conditions.

It was perhaps no surprise that the breakthrough was an untidy one as midfielder Power turned Josh Doig's low cross through Rogers' arms and over the line.

That was reward for a more lively start to the second half from the Edinburgh side, but it also sparked a reaction from Kilmarnock - thanks also to the introduction of Burke and striker Nicke Kabamba.

However, when the latter missed their big chance to draw level by firing against the inside of the post, Gogic made them pay with a sublime strike from just outside of the penalty box into the top corner.

Man of the match - Alex Gogic

Alex Gogic fires Hibs into a two-goal lead
The battling qualities of Alex Gogic were not only vital in midfield but he scored one and came close with another header

What did we learn?

Hibs were in danger of losing touch with Aberdeen - and being caught by Livingston - given they have played two more games than their rivals for Europa League places, so ending their mini run without a win will be welcome no matter how scrappy it was.

The state of their home pitch will be a worry, but on the field, the signing of Irvine and late substitute Chris Cadden would appear to be astute and, should they add extra cover up front and central defence, it should give them a great chance to strengthen their claim for a European place.

Kilmarnock arrived buoyed by the overturning of the decision to hand them a 3-0 defeat by Motherwell because of Covid-19 protocol breaches and will probably dismiss this as a game that could have gone either way given it was made a lottery by the conditions.

What they said

Hibernian 2-0 Kilmarnock: We did ugly side of the game well - Jack Ross

Hibs head coach Jack Ross: "I've said it often during the course of the season about the result being the be all and end all and, for us in the conditions and with it being so blustery and the fact the pitch isn't in great condition at the moment, means that it was going to be a game decided by fine margins and by doing the ugly side of the game well and I thought we did that today."

Kilmarnock assistant manager Andy Millen: "Not a lot happening in the first half - two teams evenly matched - and, after the first goal. we are chasing the game a bit. They worked hard enough but never created enough.

"We've had a bump along the road to a good Hibs side who are high in the league and doing well this season, so it's not the end of the world."

Hibernian 2-0 Kilmarnock: A bump along the road - Millen

What's next?

Hibs take a break from the Premiership in Saturday's League Cup semi-final at Hampden (17:30 GMT) as they face a St Johnstone side fresh from beating St Mirren. They will then hope that Kilmarnock can prevent Livingston narrowing the gap between them when they meet at Rugby Park on Wednesday, 27 January (19:45).

Player of the match

GogicAlexander Gogic

with an average of 7.31

Hibernian

  1. Squad number13Player nameGogic
    Average rating

    7.31

  2. Squad number9Player nameDoidge
    Average rating

    7.15

  3. Squad number25Player nameDoig
    Average rating

    7.11

  4. Squad number33Player nameMacey
    Average rating

    7.11

  5. Squad number6Player nameMcGinn
    Average rating

    7.05

  6. Squad number15Player nameNisbet
    Average rating

    6.98

  7. Squad number18Player nameMurphy
    Average rating

    6.96

  8. Squad number5Player namePorteous
    Average rating

    6.87

  9. Squad number36Player nameIrvine
    Average rating

    6.86

  10. Squad number20Player nameHallberg
    Average rating

    6.71

  11. Squad number10Player nameBoyle
    Average rating

    6.70

  12. Squad number4Player nameHanlon
    Average rating

    6.68

  13. Squad number14Player nameMallan
    Average rating

    6.54

  14. Squad number27Player nameCadden
    Average rating

    6.52

  15. Squad number19Player nameGullan
    Average rating

    6.51

Kilmarnock

  1. Squad number2Player nameMcGowan
    Average rating

    6.85

  2. Squad number10Player nameKiltie
    Average rating

    5.15

  3. Squad number21Player nameMulumbu
    Average rating

    4.86

  4. Squad number12Player nameWhitehall
    Average rating

    4.85

  5. Squad number3Player nameHaunstrup
    Average rating

    4.78

  6. Squad number6Player namePower
    Average rating

    4.70

  7. Squad number23Player nameRogers
    Average rating

    4.62

  8. Squad number17Player nameFindlay
    Average rating

    4.57

  9. Squad number19Player namePinnock
    Average rating

    4.55

  10. Squad number4Player nameDikamona
    Average rating

    4.54

  11. Squad number27Player nameTshibola
    Average rating

    4.36

  12. Squad number11Player nameKabamba
    Average rating

    4.28

  13. Squad number29Player nameBurke
    Average rating

    3.97

  14. Squad number26Player nameDabo
    Average rating

    3.02

Line-ups

Hibernian

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 33Macey
  • 6McGinn
  • 5Porteous
  • 4Hanlon
  • 25Doig
  • 13Gogic
  • 20Hallberg
  • 10BoyleSubstituted forCaddenat 83'minutes
  • 36IrvineSubstituted forDoidgeat 73'minutes
  • 18MurphySubstituted forGullanat 90'minutes
  • 15NisbetSubstituted forMallanat 90'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Gray
  • 8Wright
  • 9Doidge
  • 14Mallan
  • 16Stevenson
  • 19Gullan
  • 21Dabrowski
  • 24McGregor
  • 27Cadden

Kilmarnock

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 23Rogers
  • 2McGowanSubstituted forDaboat 80'minutes
  • 4Dikamona
  • 17Findlay
  • 3Haunstrup
  • 21Mulumbu
  • 19Pinnock
  • 6PowerBooked at 79mins
  • 27TshibolaSubstituted forBurkeat 60'minutes
  • 10Kiltie
  • 12WhitehallSubstituted forKabambaat 60'minutes

Substitutes

  • 11Kabamba
  • 16Doyle
  • 18Waters
  • 20Cameron
  • 26Dabo
  • 29Burke
  • 32Brindley
  • 33Taylor
Referee:
William Collum

Match Stats

Home TeamHibernianAway TeamKilmarnock
Possession
Home48%
Away52%
Shots
Home6
Away7
Shots on Target
Home5
Away0
Corners
Home4
Away9
Fouls
Home18
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Hibernian 2, Kilmarnock 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Hibernian 2, Kilmarnock 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Chris Burke (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Alan Power.

  4. Post update

    Attempt saved. Stephen Mallan (Hibernian) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Melker Hallberg.

  5. Post update

    Clévid Dikamona (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Ryan Porteous (Hibernian).

  7. Substitution

    Substitution, Hibernian. James Gullan replaces Jamie Murphy.

  8. Substitution

    Substitution, Hibernian. Stephen Mallan replaces Kevin Nisbet.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Josh Doig.

  10. Post update

    Alan Power (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Jamie Murphy (Hibernian).

  12. Post update

    Clévid Dikamona (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Ryan Porteous (Hibernian).

  14. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Chris Burke (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Greg Kiltie.

  15. Post update

    Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Paul McGinn.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Hibernian. Chris Cadden replaces Martin Boyle.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Alexander Gogic.

  18. Goal!

    Goal! Hibernian 2, Kilmarnock 0. Alexander Gogic (Hibernian) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Christian Doidge following a set piece situation.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Kilmarnock. Diaguely Dabo replaces Aaron McGowan.

  20. Booking

    Alan Power (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

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