Hogg at the double to sink Killie

The restored skipper helped lift the gloom following the exit of

former manager John Hughes, to ensure stand-in dug-out duo Alistair

Stevenson and Gareth Evans savoured a much-needed Scottish Premier

League win. Defender Hogg, playing his first game since August 29

after being dropped by Hughes, proved the hero thanks to a headed

double in a seven-minute burst just before half-time. They were

only Hogg’s second and third goals in a Hibernian shirt, his first

also coming against Kilmarnock in January 2006. Kilmarnock, managed

by former Hibs boss Mixu Paatelainen, made the perfect start when

David Silva struck inside two minutes. The Rugby Park side passed

up chances to add to their lead before Hogg stepped in to help Hibs

to their first success since the opening day of the season.

Stevenson and Evans, placed in charge for the fixture as chairman

Rod Petrie continues to seek a new manager, made three changes to

the team that lost 2-0 at St Johnstone a fortnight ago, the result

that ultimately cost Hughes his job. Hogg, Paul Hanlon and Lewis

Stevenson, making his first league appearance of the season, were

all restored, with Francis Dickoh, Michael Hart and Jonathan

Grounds dropping to the bench. Kilmarnock, previously the last side

to lose to Hibs at Easter Road on March 6, also made three changes.

Ben Gordon, Harry Forrester and Liam Kelly all started, with Frazer

Wright suspended and Garry Hay and Danny Invincibile among the

substitutes. Hibs were in need of a positive opening but got off to

a dreadful start when the Ayrshire men netted after just 80

seconds. Kelly was afforded too much room on the right and when his

cross was missed by the Hibs defence, Silva had time to control

before driving under Mark Brown from eight yards. The goal could

have sapped the spirit of the hosts, but they almost replied after

seven minutes when Colin Nish headed over from David Wotherspoon’s

centre. Sol Bamba also saw a header blocked for a corner from a

Derek Riordan free-kick as Evans, directing most prominently from

the dug-out, urged a response. But Hibs’ new-look defence, with

Hogg at right-back and Stevenson at left-back, looked shaky. Kelly

almost took advantage again but drove just wide from 15 yards.

Alexei Eremenko was next to try his luck for the visitors, cutting

inside on to his right foot and sending a long-range strike just

over. Hibs were struggling to create and the home fans were growing

frustrated. Paatelainen’s men went close to doubling their lead in

the 33rd minute. Jamie Hamill shrugged off John Rankin on the right

but his cut-back was spooned over by Conor Sammon. Three minutes

later Silva passed up an even better chance, nodding a yard wide at

the back post after a fine centre from Forrester. But, out of the

blue, Hibs claimed a 38th-minute leveller. Riordan’s corner from

the right saw Hogg leap highest to power home a header that Craig

Bryson could only help into the net from on the line. Remarkably,

Hibs grabbed the lead on the stroke of half-time – and again Hogg

was the hero. Hanlon’s diagonal ball picked out the defender whose

looping header from just outside the penalty area flew into the

left-hand corner. Kilmarnock had the first opening after the

interval as Brown clutched a shot from Kelly at his near post. Hibs

replied when a Nish centre fell to Rankin on the edge of the

penalty area but the midfielder ballooned his effort into the

stand, before Hamill deflected a Riordan drive over. Silva then

burst clear at the other end but his dangerous centre across the

face of goal found no takers. Brown came to his side’s rescue on

the hour mark as Sammon almost equalised. Bryson picked out the

striker whose close-range header looked net-bound only for the Hibs

goalkeeper, nearly impeded by Bamba, to tip over. Sammon claimed

Bamba had in fact handled on the line but referee Iain Brines was

unmoved. Kilmarnock were enjoying spells of possession but the

hosts, with Hogg replaced by Hart, were defending stoutly in search

of a precious victory. Brown was again called into action after 80

minutes, moving to his left to push away Hamill’s free-kick strike.

Nish could have put the match beyond doubt near the end but he

failed to net after a centre from Riordan. The visitors pushed for

a leveller, but when the chance arrived it was at the other end as

Rankin picked out Riordan in injury-time only for the forward to

find the side-netting.