31 Oct Hibs climb to third after Killie win
Hibernian ruined Steve Clarke’s first home game as Kilmarnock manager and moved into third place in the Ladbrokes Premiership with a 3-0 victory.
Goals from John McGinn, Simon Murray and Martin Boyle earned Hibs to a third consecutive win.
Clarke had guided Killie to draws at Ibrox and Celtic Park in his first two games in charge after watching them win at Partick Thistle, and their displays in Glasgow and enthusiasm over his appointment helped attract a crowd of 5,005 – more than 1,500 up on their previous home game.
But Clarke’s early impact did not stretch to an upturn in home results, although Rory McKenzie and Kris Boyd, twice, hit the woodwork for the hosts, who were given a warm reception for their efforts. Killie have now taken two points from a possible 21 this season at Rugby Park.
The home crowd’s optimism was dented in the 10th minute when Boyle laid the ball back for David Gray to whip a pinpoint cross on to the head of McGinn six yards out. The midfielder powered a header into the bottom corner.
The tables were soon turned when McGinn’s corner found Gray, who was in for the absent Steven Whittaker, completely unmarked at the back post. But Jamie MacDonald blocked the right-back’s header with his feet.
Killie immediately broke but Lewis Stevenson raced back to put in a goal-saving tackle on Jordan Jones and the visitors continued to look threatening with McGinn and Dylan McGeouch impressing on the ball and Gray and Boyle finding space down the right.
But the hosts found their feet around the half-hour mark after McKenzie hit the outside of the post from 25 yards. They came even closer four minutes later when Greg Taylor turned in the box and crossed for Boyd, whose header bounced down off the underside of the bar.
The striker out-muscled Marvin Bartley seconds later at a corner but headed wide off balance and claimed unsuccessfully for a penalty to referee Stephen Finnie.
Boyd missed a glorious chance three minutes into the second half after Jones waltzed to the bye-line and found the 34-year-old in space in the six-yard box, but Ofir Marciano blocked his attempted tap-at close range.
Marciano tipped over well-struck long-range strikes from Boyd and Jones and the home side were made to pay for their misses when Hibs carved them open on the hour mark. McGinn flighted a ball over the top of the home defence and Gray sent an inviting first-time ball across the face of goal for Murray to knock home.
Killie had several penalty claims rejected – notably when Stevenson fouled Jones right on the edge of the box and when the winger got in front of Gray and went to ground, but Finnie was not interested.
Marciano saved Lee Erwin’s header, Adam Frizzell missed the target from 16 yards and Boyd’s free-kick deflected off the post.
Boyle raced through the heart of the home defence to make it three in stoppage-time.