Hibs consolidated third place with a well-deserved 2-0 victory over 10-man Hamilton Academical at Easter Road this afternoon.
Head Coach Jack Ross made one change to the starting XI that beat Aberdeen two-weeks ago with Joe Newell returning in place of Alex Gogic who took his place on the bench against his former club.
Former Hibs’ midfielder Scott Martin started for the visitors with former defender Ben Stirling on the bench for Brian Rice’s team.
The visitors started brightly and Ofir Marciano produced a superb save to deny Scott McMann in the opening minutes then Marios Ogkmpoe struck the post with a snap shot after a mistake by Josh Doig.
Moments later Martin Boyle capitalised on his speed to latch onto a long ball from Jackson Irvine and was brought down by a reckless challenge from Jamie Hamilton. Referee Craig Napier took a few seconds to assess the situation before producing a red card.
Newell’s free-kick was cleared to Doig who found Boyle and the on-form striker curled a tremendous 22-yard strike into the bottom right hand corner of the net to open the scoring.
Moments later Fulton did well to save a powerful half-volley from Doig then Jamie Murphy had a goal-bound strike blocked by Brian Easton.
A superb spell of one-touch football ended with Doig breaking clear but a last ditch tackle by Martin stopped the attack.
In the 32nd minute a Boyle corner found Darren McGregor who cushioned a header into the path of Christian Doidge who was clattered to the ground and the referee pointed to the spot.
Boyle took the resultant penalty but Ryan Fulton produced a great save to keep the score at 1-0.
Just before the break Irvine set up Boyle who slid the ball into the path of Chris Cadden but the midfielder sliced his effort wide of the target.
Marciano did well to save from Bruce Anderson just after the restart then at the other end Doidge set up Cadden but Fulton once again did well to save his effort.
Doig then won the ball in midfield and drove forward but his shot was deflected for a corner.
Newell then sent a superb cross to the back post where McGregor knocked the ball toward goal but Fulton produced yet another fine save although the referee failed to see it and gave a goal-kick.
Kevin Nisbet replaced Murphy just after the hour mark then in the 69th minute Boyle picked up the ball on the right wing, rounded the full-back and sent in a cross which deflected off a Hamilton player and Doig headed the ball into the empty net to score his first goal for the club.
Nisbet had an effort well saved by Fulton then with 15-minutes remaining Scott Allan replaced Doidge.
Accies continued to press forward and fought for every ball but Hibs were content to hit on the break.
Gogic then replaced Newell and Lewis Stevenson took over from man of the match Doig.
In the dying minutes a Cadden cross found Boyle at the back post but he sliced his effort which went for a throw in and Hibe held on for a deserved three-points with a clean sheet.
Hibs: Marciano, P. McGinn, McGregor, Hanlon, Cadden, Newell, Irvine, Doig, Murphy, Boyle, Doidge. Subs: Macey, Gray, Porteous, Stevenson, Gogic, Wright, Hallberg, Allan, Nisbet.
Hamilton Academical: Fulton, Odoffin, McMann, Easton, Hamilton, Anderson, S.Martin, Ogkmpoe, Trafford, Hodson, Callachan. Subs: Gourlay, Stirling, Want, Hughes, Mimnaugh, Winter, Moyo, Munro, C. Smith
Referee Craig Napier