New boys guide Hibs to victory

In an absorbing encounter, Sodje opened the scoring and Palsson

added a second from the penalty spot. The visitors then found the

net from 12 yards through Jamie Hamill as Francis Dickoh was sent

off for a professional foul. Referee Steve Conroy then struggled to

keep control in the dying stages when both benches and just about

every player became involved in a melee. The result sees Hibs move

eight points clear of basement side Hamilton in the Clydesdale Bank

Premier League. In a lively start, on-loan Everton marksman Kieran

Agard had a low left-footed shot from outside the area saved by

Graham Stack after Dickoh gave the ball away following a timely

tackle on Liam Kelly. The pace of the visitors’ attacks were

causing Hibs problems and the home fans were relieved to see Agard

slip another effort wide of the far post after being teed up in the

box by Mehdi Taouil. The tempo of the game calmed following a

frenetic start, but Kilmarnock continued to enjoy the lions’ share

of possession. Building from the back, the Ayrshire outfit were

looking to pass their way through Hibs with Taouil and Rui Miguel

offering support to Agard. After 33 minutes, Hibs youngster Callum

Booth was caught in possession at the corner flag as Agard

continued to terrorise the home rearguard. The Toffees youngster

then edged past Dickoh inside the area but slammed a left-footed

shot into the side netting with only Stack to beat. Hibs continued

to look uneasy at the back and Stack pulled off a great save to

push Taouil’s stinging effort behind after the Leith outfit failed

to clear the danger from a Garry Hay corner. Kilmarnock were forced

into a half-time change with goalkeeper Cammy Bell being replaced

by Anssi Jaakkola. The Finn was called into action minutes after

his introduction when Riordan hit a free-kick straight at the

goalkeeper. Hibs then had penalty appeals waved away by referee

Conroy after Sodje fell in the area under a challenge from

Mohamadou Sissoko. After spending most of the first half keeping

Kilmarnock out, Hibs took the lead in the 53rd minute when Sodje

opened his account for his new employers. David Wotherspoon headed

into the path of the former Charlton man, who raced away from

Manuel Pascali after the Italian fell to the ground, and Sodje

passed the ball beyond Jaakkola into the net via the inside of the

post. Pascali claimed he had been fouled by the goalscorer but his

appeals fell on deaf ears. Hibs doubled their lead in the 69th

minute when January signing Palsson notched his first goal for the

club from the penalty spot. Riordan appeared to be caught in the

face by the arm of Sissoko and former Liverpool midfielder Palsson

sent Jaakkola the wrong way from 12 yards. Kilmarnock reduced their

arrears in the 74th minute courtesy of Hamill under controversial

circumstances. Dickoh brought down Agard in a last-man challenge

inside the box, but it was near-side assistant referee Keith Sorbie

that flagged for a foul. After discussing the incident with his

colleague, Conroy issued a red card to the Hibs defender and Hamill

made no mistake form the penalty spot. An ugly melee involving both

benches and nearly every player on the pitch then left Conroy

struggling to restore calm. It all started when Hibs sub Martin

Scott went into a crunching challenge with Tim Clancy in front of

the dugout, prompting Kilmarnock manager Mixu Paatelainen to get

involved. When the action resumed Craig Bryson was denied a

last-gasp equaliser after Stack made a superb block.