Hibs 1 - 3 Hamilton: Accies haunt Hibs again

Hamilton's Louis Longridge races through to make it 2-0. Picture: SNS/Paul Devlin
Hamilton's Louis Longridge races through to make it 2-0. Picture: SNS/Paul Devlin
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The newly promoted side had been picking up plaudits aplenty courtesy of some swashbuckling play and a run of wins that had allowed them to progress in the League Cup and make a positive impact in their return to the Premiership. But they came up against Hamilton on a day when the Lanarkshire side served up one of their finest performances of the past few seasons.

That was the summation of manager Martin Canning, who had told his men at half-time that the game was there for the taking.

Their opponents looked sluggish and sloppy throughout their first defeat of the season, lacking the kind of spark that had ignited previous performances and gifting their guests the kind of opportunities they failed to carve out for themselves.

Set up identically to the team many have tipped to become embroiled in yet another relegation dogfight, Neil Lennon was forced to change things as the game wore on. Despite the class of guys like John McGinn, Dylan McGeouch and Danny Swanson in the middle of the park, it was the visitors who controlled things in that area, with Greg Docherty a leading light while Darian MacKinnon showed the fight that was absent in Neil Lennon’s men.

But if they were effective they are not always entertaining. However, in the way they pieced together the third goal, with some crisp, clean passing and a clinical finish, they showed that they do have some guile to go with the guts.

A beautiful team goal that even earned applause from Hibs fans, it was swift, sweeping and sweet and Rakish Bingham calmly slotted away the end ball to give a shine to a victory that was well deserved.

Hibernian, though, will have some soul searching to do and some improvements to make if they are to live up to the early season hype, with their manager adamant that only the goalkeeper Ofir Marciano earned pass marks.

The first half was not a thrilling affair, with real goal chances few and far between but when they did come, it was the Israeli keeper who was the busier as Hamilton rained in corner kicks and tried to find a way to convert their more frequent forays forward into something tangible.

Bingham tried an early lob, Steven Boyd sent an effort wide and, after Gary Woods had to dive to his right to palm away a Swanson long-range strike in the 26th minute, Hamilton again ventured upfield. .

Hibs looked blunted and it was Hamilton who looked the likelier to break the deadlock and Marciano had to pull off a brilliant save when Ali Crawford tried to curl one into the top corner. It looked destined to find the net but the Hibs keeper leapt to his left and managed to push the ball out for corner.

The first goal came from a 51st minute penalty, when captain Darren McGregor caught Docherty just inside the box and Bingham converted low and firm into the bottom corner.

Hibs had fought back from going a goal behind in their previous two league matches but that never looked possible yesterday. Lennon tried to gain the upper hand by sending on Vykintas Slivka and loan signing Brandon Barker and switching to a back four. The hope was that it would create more space further up the park and it did but the only team who exploited that were Hamilton.

The home side were rattled and Paul Hanlon added to their woes with a howler in the 69th mistake, conceding possession to Louis Longridge who made it 2-0.

The game was wrapped up at that point and the third goal was simply the icing on the cake.

Anthony Stokes pulled one back with virtually the last kick of the ball but the fact that it was one of the few chances Hibs had all day meant it did little to elevate a poor performance.