Hibs 1-3 Hamilton: Accies haunt Hibs again

Three years after condemning Hibs to Championship football Hamilton returned to haunt Hibs as they brought the Easter Road outfit's promising return to the top flight of Scottish football to a shuddering halt.

Hamilton's Louis Longbridge races through to make it 2-0. Picture: SNS/Paul Devlin

It’s happened again sang the small band of Accies fans - all 217 of them - in memory of that day in May, 2014, as they watched their side take total control of the second half of the match, Rakish Bingham firing them ahead from the penalty spot after Darren McGregor had tripped Greg Docherty before a mistake by Paul Hanlon gifted substitute Louis Longridge, who had earlier hit the bar, claim a second to clinch the three points.

And two minutes from the end Bingham wrapped up a superb afternoon for Martin Canning’s side, rounding off a terrific move by knocking home a well deserved third, an injury time strike from Anthony Stokes scant consolation for the home fans.

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After a promising start following their wins over Partick Thistle and Rangers Hibs simply fell out of the match, a pale shadow of the side which had thrilled at Ibrox seven days ago.

Hibs dominated the early stages but survived a fright when Giannis Skondras’ long ball forward drifted over the head of McGregor to give Bingham a glimpse of goal but the Easter Road defender recovered sufficiently to ensure the striker couldn’t get a shot on target.

As ever Simon Murray was proving to be a livewire upfront for the Capital outfit but the free-scoring hitman was left disappointed as he found plenty of space to meet Danny Swanson’s corner only to head wide.

Swanson brought the first save of the game. Accies goalkeeper Gary Woods throwing himself to his left to push aside the midfielder’s powerful drive from 25 yards.

Hamilton might not have been seeing as much of the ball as their opponents but they made good of it when in possession, Docherty striding forward to unleash a rising shot which referee Steven McLean adjudged goalkeeper Ofir Marciano had just got his fingertips on to turn it over.

As the half-hour mark came and went Accies boss Martin Canning would have been happy to have seen his side subdue an expectant home support as they grew into the game. But it took a terrific block from Woods to prevent Murray claiming his 11th goal of the season after the striker had been set free by Steven Whittaker’s well-judged pass.

Hibs had claims for a penalty waved away as Georgious Skondras appeared to hold Stokes as he attempted to get on the end of Murray’s header but the home side had Marciano to thank for ensuring they didn’t to in a goal behind at the interval, the Israeli internationalist rising acrobatically to claw Ali Crawford’s curling shot away from his top left hand corner.

Encouraged by the way they had ended the first half Accies began the second by forcing a string of corners from which Dougie Imrie saw a netbound strike diverted over by the head of Ambrose.

Hibs had been sloppy and paid the penalty quite literally when McGregor tripped Docherty, referee McLean having no hesitation in pointing to the spot, Bingham stepping up to slot the ball into Marciano’s bottom left hand corner despite the goalkeeper guessing the right way.

Neil Lennon didn’t wait long to react, replacing Swanson with on-loan Manchester City winger Brandon Barker just three minutes later in a bid to spark some much needed life into what had become a lacklustre performance from his side.

Hibs moved to a four at the back as Vykintas Slivka replaced McGregor but they were lucky not to fall two behind in the 64th minute as Longridge crashed a shot off the junction of the crossbar and post as Hamilton continued to turn the screw on the Capital side.

Accies got the second goal they deserved as Longridge latched onto Hanlon’s misplaced clearance, left with the easy task of slotting a low shot beyond Marciano, before Stokes claimed that added-on time consolation goal.

And they heaped even further misery on Hibs as Longridge and Docherty combined to leave Bingham with an empty goal to claim his second, and their third, of the day.