It was Friday Night Football through in the capital and our media team reporter Mark Gillespie was there…
Easter Road Stadium, Edinburgh
Friday 2nd October 2020, kick off 7.45pm
Hibernian 3 Hamilton Academical 2
We gave the hosts a late scare, but a slow start in Leith had left us with too much to do. Kevin Nisbet’s double had Hibs in control at the break, but Accies re-emerged a different side. We passed up the first of two spot kicks before Paul Hanlon added number three. A lot of teams might have folded but Accies poured forward in response, Ross Callachan converting a second spot kick. Ryan Porteous’s own goal near the end raised the possibility of an incredible fightback, but Hibs saw it out.
Brian Rice was just disappointed his side didn’t perform in that first half:, “We didn’t get out of the traps. We gave too much respect to Hibs. We were passive, giving the ball away and not competing. The way we lost one or two goals was really unlike us this season, where we’ve been pretty good defensively.”
“We’ll never chuck it. In the second half I thought we were excellent. I thought we passed it the best we’ve passed the ball this season. Bringing Marios on made a difference, and I thought Munro was exceptional again out wide in just his third match for me.”
“We spoke pre match about having a go here. But it’s been very disruptive this week, with training cancelled for a second time. It’ll happen to other clubs. No qualms, we’ll just get on with it”, he said post-match.
Kyle Gourlay debuted in goal as we made four changes from last week. Also starting were Collar, Callachan and Hamilton, as we went with a back three. The Accies ‘keeper was to have a busy evening up against a buoyant Hibs side containing two changes to their starting eleven. Murphy and Stevenson started for ex Accie Jack Ross’s side as they hoped to continue their bright start to the season.
Accies started this one flat footed. Gourlay was needed within four minutes, palming away a close range Hanlon header. We then had to make an early change to the back three on 14 minutes, with Shaun Want taking ill onfield and replaced by Munro. Scott McMann slotted back into central defence.
Hibs took advantage and were ahead on 19 minutes. Odoffin fouled Martin Boyle on the edge of the box and Gourlay was helpless to stop Nisbet’s freekick, passed into the side of the net.
We struggled to get out of our own half as the hosts kept up the tempo. Boyle was millimetres away five minutes later, a powerful low drive just beyond the Accies far post. Nisbet’s second arrived on 35 minutes as Joe Newell swung in from the right touchline. The striker’s header crashed in off the bar. Accies were living dangerously a minute later, Christian Doidge onto a long ball through the defence but Gourlay quick off his line to block.
Templeton had our first meaningful effort just wide of goal from the edge of the box, as half time approached. We needed a better out ball in attack and looked much sharper with the second half introduction of Marios Ogkmpoe, on for Winter.
Slick link up play brought the chance to reduce arrears on 55 minutes, Templeton sliding the Accies clean through on goal. McGinn looked to have made an errant challenge but could consider himself lucky just to see yellow for his foul in the box. Ogkmpoe got up to take, but his penalty was too close and an easy height for Marciano to block.
The Hibs third might have knocked the stuffing of most teams. Doidge helped on a Hallberg free kick into the box. The defence switched off and Hanlon nipped in ahead of Gourlay to head into the corner.
Chances fell to the hosts to make sure, Gourlay denying Boyle and then Nisbet his hat trick. Another reflex save kept out a Doidge header on 67 minutes, as the game went end to end.
We had another chance from the spot on 75 minutes as Munro split the Hibs defence. Sub Callum Smith was brought down by Porteous. This time Ross Callachan stepped up to dispatch high past Marciano for his first Accies goal.
You just never know in football. Accies finally got their passing going. We made the changes with Smith making an impact. He again had the beating of his man with seven minutes left, his dangerous delivery headed beyond his own keeper by Porteous, to reduce the leeway to a single goal.
Hibs were being made to think about and managed to see it out. They stay third, while Accies now sit second bottom on goal difference.
Hibs: Marciano, P McGinn, Porteous, Hanlon, Stevenson, Boyle, Gogic, Newell (Hallberg, 45), Murphy (Wright, 76), Doidge, Nisbet; Subs Unused: Barnes, Gray, McGregor, Doig, Mallan, Shanley, Gullan
Goals: Nisbett, 19, 35, Hanlon, 62
Booking: McGinn, 55
Accies: Gourlay, Odoffin, McMann (c), Hamilton, Collar, Martin (Owolabi 63), Templeton (C Smith, 72), Want (Munro 14) , Winter (Ogkmpoe, 45), Hodson, Callachan; Subs Unused: Scully, Stirling, Trafford, Mimnaugh, Moyo,
Goals: Callachan, 75 (pen), Porteous (o.g, 83)
Bookings: Callachan, 16, Odoffin,18
Referee: Bobby Madden, Assistants:Dougie Potter & Paul O’Neill, 4th Official: Grant Irvine