Hibs twice came from behind to take a well-deserved three points after a hugely entertaining 90-minutes at Fir Park this afternoon.
Ahead of the game Hibs’ boss Jack Ross said that Josh Doig had been left out of the squad as it was likely that he would be leaving the club following a number of offers from other clubs. The ever dependable Lewis Stevenson returned to the left back spot.
Joe Newell returned from suspension and Jamie Murphy made his first start of the season.
Motherwell demonstrated their intentions early on with both Kyle Magennis and Martin Boyle subjected to heavy challenges, then took the lead with a fine goal.
Tony Watt collected the ball on the left and sent a deft back heel into the path of Jake Carroll who sent in a superb cross which the unmarked Kevin Van Veen headed into the net.
Incredibly this was the first headed league goal conceded by Hibs in over a year.
Hibs were level within five minutes after Kevin Nisbet took possession in midfield and found Paul McGinn with a wonderful diagonal pass. The full-back sent in a low cross which Murphy missed and the ball ricocheted off a defender into the path of Magennis who made no mistake from close range to the delight of the 2,000 fans in the away end.
Carrol was booked for a bad foul on Boyle on the right but the free-kick was cleared.
Boyle tested Liam Kelly with a powerful angled drive but the keeper did well to push the ball round the post.
Hibs then dominated possession mounting attack after attack but Motherwell looked dangerous on the break and Stevenson did well to stop a break away.
Murphy did well to break through the ‘Well defence and tried to lob Kelly but he over hot his attempt and the ball went over the bar.
Alex Gogic was penalised for foul on Callum Slattery and from the resultant free-kick Carroll found Bevis Mugabe at the back post and the defender’s header beat Matt Macey.
Murphy was brought down on the edge of the box but Nisbet’s free-kick was just too high.
Hibs were denied a clear penalty in the 36th minute when Magennis was bared off the ball inside the area by Carroll who would certainly have been shown a second yellow card had the referee awarded the spot-kick.
Newell was fortunate not to be booked for pulling back Watt then just before the break Carroll reacted to a Boyle challenge by grabbing his jersey and pushing him away but referee David Munro didn’t feel that merited action.
Carroll’s first action after the restart was to chop down Boyle but Munro felt that a free-kick was sufficient punishment although none of the frustrated Hibs’ fans agreed.
Boyle was disposed in the area when about to shoot than Kelly produced a tremendous save to deny Murphy with an acrobatic save.
Stevenson was booked for attempting to pull back Kaiyne Wollery who broke clear from midfield.
Christian Doidge replaced Gogic in the 54th minute then goal scorer Van Veen was fortunate only to see yellow for a reckless challenge
Two minutes after coming on Doidge equalised after Nisbet turned his defender on the edge of the area and his effort rebounded off the post. The Welshman was first to react and knocked the ball into the net from close range.
Boyle then fired a half-volley wide from 25-yards as Ross’s men sought another goal but at the other end Macey did well to block a shot from Woolery.
Murphy was replaced by Jake Doyle Hayes in the 65th minute and the midfielder did well to block Van Veen’s angled shot.
Hibs were then awarded a penalty when Nisbet’s shot was blocked by Stephen O’Donnell’s hand and Boyle tucked the resultant spot-kick into the bottom left and corner of the net after Kelly was booked for trying to put him off.
Ryan Porteous was harshly booked for a challenge on Watt as both tried to win the ball in the air then the defender was caught in the eye by a flailing hand of Wollery but once again the referee wasn’t interested.
Hibs then played some neat possession football to take the sting out of the game and with seven minutes remaining Josh Campbell replaced Magennis and Hibs held on for a well-deserved victory.
At the final whistle the Hibs’ players celebrated with their ecstatic fans.
Motherwell: Kelly, O’Donnell, Carroll, Lamie, Mugabi, Maguire, Slattery, Donnelly, Woolery, Van Veen, Watt. Substitutes: Fox, Lawless, Ojala, O’Connor, Amaluzor, McGinley, Crawford.
Hibernian: Macey, McGinn, Porteous, Hanlon, Stevenson, Gogic, Magennis, Newell, Boyle, Murphy, Nisbet. Substitutes: Dabrowksi, Doidge, Mackay, Doyle-Hayes, Allan, McGregor, Campbell.