EdinReport.1.3

Hibs’ hopes of a top six finish are fading despite picking up a point against Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Highlands last night.

Manager Terry Butcher made two changes to his side that drew with Motherwell on Saturday with Lewis Stevenson and skipper Liam Craig being replaced by Duncan  Watmore and Tom Taiwo.

Hibs started brightly and were unlucky not to take the lead in the 12th minute with Ryan McGivern’s powerful shot was well saved by Brill.

Aaron Doran then set up Inverness’ leading scoring, Billy McKay as play raged from end to end.

On 21 minutes, Danny Haynes collected a pass from Taiwo and saw his first effort blocked slicing his next effort wide of the post.

After half an hour, Paul Hanlon got onto the end of a Paul Cairney corner and only a terrific block prevented the central defender from opening the scoring.

Immediately after the break Watmore produced an exquisite piece of skill to evaded Josh Meekings and Gary Warren, but his cross was too powerful for James Collins to connect with properly.

Watmore continued to cause problems for the Caley defence as Hibs pressed for the three points.

Sam Stanton was next to try his luck after some neat build up play with Cairney but his final shot flew wide of the target.

Against the run of play, Doran brought out a fine save from Ben Williams with a powerful strike before the game petered out.

Butcher brought on all three subs in the final stages with Stevenson replacing Watmore, Craig replacing Haynes and Paul Heffernan replacing Taiwo.

Afterwards Butcher told BBC Scotland: “The only highlight for us was Duncan Watmore’s performance.

“He only lasted about 60-70 minutes, but he’ll get better and stronger – he’s just back from injury. So that’s exciting.”

“We had the Good, the Bad and Ugly on Saturday, while tonight was a black and white movie that’s been consigned to the rubbish bin”

“Sam Stanton buzzed about as he normally does, but the rest was not a lot to write home about

“I suppose I’m delighted with a point and delighted with a clean sheet, but draws aren’t going to get us into the top six.

“We didn’t offer enough going forward. Defensively, we were strong, which was fine, but we’ve got to do better up the other end of the pitch. On Saturday, it was a very adventurous and attack-minded team, but this was the complete opposite.”

“It’s our first clean sheet of 2014, but no goals up front is back to what it was before. We don’t seem to get things right at both ends in one game.”

Elsewhere, St Johnstone produced an unexpected win over Dundee United at Tannadice to move four points clear of Hibs with a game in hand.

Hibs travel to Firhill on Saturday to face Partick Thistle.

Hibs: Williams, Forster, Nelson, Hanlon, McGivern, Watmore (Stevenson, 70), Taiwo (Heffernan, 90), Stanton, Cairney, Haynes (Craig, 77), Collins. Unused substitutes: Murdoch, Maybury, Handling, Cummings.

Attendance 2537

Photo by John Preece

http://www.photoboxgallery.com/jlp-photography