Doyle earns Hibernian a point
Kilmarnock and Hibernian served up a festive 1-1 draw in their
SPL clash at a sodden Rugby Park on Sunday.
In an entertaining first-half played in almost constant rain,
striker Paul Heffernan gave the Ayrshire side the lead in the sixth
minute before Hibees hit-man Eoin Doyle levelled in 26 minutes with
his third goal in two games.
While Killie defender Robbie Fowler made a goalline clearance
from Paul Cairney just after the break, excitement levels dipped
and thereafter neither side did enough to claim all three
However, both sets of players deserve credit for playing in some
miserable conditions, as did the 4,023 fans who braved the
Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels made one enforced change to his
side with James Dayton coming into midfield to replace the
suspended Liam Kelly.
The visitors, without skipper James McPake through suspension,
showed two changes to their starting line-up with Lewis Stevenson
coming in at left-back and midfielder Gary Deegan replacing Jorge
Claros, who started on the bench.
Pat Fenlon’s men, captained by Paul Hanlon and playing in
all-yellow, found themselves behind early in the game after
defender Alan Maybury had fouled Dayton 25 yards from goal when it
looked as if he was favourite to clear Heffernan’s poor cross.
Ben Williams made a fine save from Borja Perez’s powerful
free-kick but the Leith side failed to clear their lines and when
Killie defender Michael Nelson put Heffernan in the Irishman
skilfully lobbed the Hibs keeper from inside the box.
Stunned Hibs battled back but it was Killie who had the next
chance in the 14th minute when Dayton’s fine cross from the left
found Heffernan but his header from eight yards slipped past the
Moments later, Hibs striker Leigh Griffiths fired a free-kick
from 30 yards over Cammy Bell’s crossbar, before his low drive from
similar distance sped past the post with the Rugby Park keeper
scrambling to cover.
However, the visitors got themselves back on level terms after
Heffernan lost possession in the centre circle with the ball
breaking to Cairney.
The Hibs midfielder sent Griffiths racing down the right and his
driven cross arrived at Doyle who did well to turn it at the far
Moments later, Heffernan had a drive deflected past for a corner
from which the home side failed to capitalise before Doyle had a
decent effort from 25 yards saved by Bell.
It was developing into an open game and in the 32nd minute
Heffernan cleverly set up Jeroen Tesselaar inside a packed Hibs
penalty area but the left-back’s left-footed drive from 14 yards
missed the target.
Four minutes from the break Killie escaped following a David
Wotherspoon corner when Bell punched the ball in an attempted
clearance and breathed a sigh of relief as it cannoned off Hanlon
and back over the bar.
The Easter Road men should have taken the lead just over a
minute into the second-half when Doyle set up Cairney in the box
but his chip over Bell – when it looked like he would have been
better off blasting it – was headed off the line by Fowler.
There was little between the two sides but Bell found himself
called into action again when he had to push a long-distance drive
from Griffiths round the post for a corner which, once more, came
It looked as if something special would be needed to find the
winner and Kilmarnock defender Mohamadou Sissoko almost provided it
when he ventured up the park to have a go from 35 yards but watched
as the ball fizzed just past Williams’ left-hand post.
In the 85th minute Williams spilled Dayton’s 25-yard free-kick
before the Hibs defence eventually cleared to safety but in the end
both sides looked as if they had run out of steam and thus, a draw
was probably a fair result.