Hibs’ promotion hopes are back on track after beating Raith Rovers 2-0 at Easter Road yesterday to overcome a first leg defeat and set-up a Ladbrokes Premiership play-off semi-final clash with Falkirk with the first leg at home on Tuesday night.
Two early goals from John McGinn and Darren McGregor had Easter Road rocking and the hosts could have added to their lead when David Gray hit the post late on.
Rovers however also had chances to take the game to extra time but in the end it was a comfortable win for the Hibees.
Head Coach Alan Stubbs made two changes to the starting XI that lost in midweek with Liam Henderson and Dylan McGeouch replacing Marvin Bartley and Liam Fontaine.
The opening goal came in the seventh minute after Anthony Stokes’ shot was blocked and fell to McGinn. The Scotland midfielder fired in a strike which took a big deflection and looped over Kevin Cuthbert into the net.
Four minutes later Henderson’s corner was met by McGregor who sent a powerful header past Cuthbert to make the score 2-0.
Hibs created more chances but it took a good save from Conrad Logan in the 35th minute to prevent on loan Ryan Hardie from pulling a goal back. The ball then fell to Louis Longridge who dribbled past Logan but his shot blocked by a superb sliding tackle from McGregor.
Henderson almost wrapped things up shortly after half time but a sensational save by Cuthbert stopped the midfielder from making it 3-0.
Paul Hanlon did well to block a Lewis Toshney effort after a mistake by substitute Bartley then in the 84th minute a McGinn free kick was met by Gray but the captain’s header rebounded off the post.
With time running out there was a nervousness amongst the home supporters who knew that one mistake could but in the end Hibs held on to secure the victory.
Hibs now face Falkirk at Easter Road on Tuesday night in the first leg with the second leg at the Falkirk Stadium on Friday.
The winners of that tie will face Kilmarnock who ended the season in second bottom place in the Premiership.
Hibernian: Logan, Gray, Henderson (Fontaine 81’), Hanlon, Fyvie, McGeouch (Bartley 65’), Stevenson, McGinn, McGregor, Stokes, Cummings (Keatings 80’). Substitutes not used: Oxley, Boyle, Gunnarsson, Dagnall.
Raith Rovers: Cuthbert, Thomson, Callachan, Toshney, Benedictus, Davidson, Hardie (Thomas 75’), Longridge (Stewart 64’), McKeown, Craigen (Panayioutou 51’), Barr. Substitutes not used: Law, Anderson, Connolly, Robertson.
Referee: John McKendrick.