Hibs 1, Falkirk 1 : Ten man Falkirk hold Hibs to a draw

Hibs saw their lead at the top of the Championship cut to a single point as the had to come from behind to rescue a point against ten-man Falkirk.

Hibs and Falkirk players clash as Bairns midfielder Tom Taiwo is sent off after only 24 minutes at Easter Road
Hibs and Falkirk players clash as Bairns midfielder Tom Taiwo is sent off after only 24 minutes at Easter Road

The Bairns lost Tom Taiwo after only 24 minutes, the former Hibs midfielder guilty of a reckless two-footed lunge on Hibs John McGinn. The Captial side battled to make the most of that advantage but while it was backs-to-the-wall stuff for much of the game for the Bairns they shocked the home side by taking the lead through John Baird late in the second half.

But Hibs maintained their current unbeaten run with an even later header from Paul Hanlon and were denied a last-gasp winner as Falkirk goalkeeper Danny Rogers got down to push McGinn's netbound shot round the post.

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McGinn dashed back to Edinburgh from London this morning after international duty with Scotland, meaning there was only one change to Neil Lennon's side, Ross Laidlaw replacing the injured Ofir Marciano in goal while Falkirk had Rogers available having been on stand-by for the Republic of Ireland's World Cup qualifier in Austria this evening.

A pretty tame affair in which both sides spent the opening stages sizing each other up erupted in the 24th minute when former Hibs midfielder Taiwo threw himself into a rash challenge on McGinn, catching his opposite number late to leave referee John Beaton no option but to flash the red card. The incident provoked an ugly scene with players from both sides squaring up, Hibs Grant Holt picking up a yellow for his part.

But it was Holt who went closest toi opening the scoring. Rogers pulled off a terrific save from McGinn and from the resultant corner taken by Andrew Shinnie, the veteran striker's header was taken off the line by Luca Gasaparotto.

Tempers were fraying and again players from the two teams clashed after Darren McGregor had gone in on Mark Kerr deep inside the Bairns half, both assistants coming onto the pitch to separate them before referee John Beaton booked the Hibs defender and Falkirk's Aaron Muirhead..

Hibs were turning the screw, however, and went close again as Holt took McGinn's pass, rolled his marker only to see his shot crash off the legs of goalkeeper Rogers before S/hinne cut into the penalty box to send his effort whistling wide of the far post.

Martin Boiyle did have the ball in the net as the game moved into added on time at the end of the first half but assistant referee William Conquer had the offside flag raised.

The home side resumed determined to press home their numerical superiority, Fraser Fyvie sending a volley inches wide before the ball fell kindly for Liam Fontaine only a few yards sout only for the defender to spin and fire a shot across goal and past the far post.

Hibs were pounding away at the Falkirk defence and although it was desperate stuff from the Bairns at times, Peter Houston's side held firm , creating an air of anxiety among the home fans while Lennon;s players had to try to retain their patience and await that one clear-cut opportunity to take all three points.

Falkirk were leaving only Lee Miller up-front, a ploy which encouraged Lennon to make a bold double substitution, replacing defenders David Gray and Fontaine with top scorer Jason Cummings and Alex Harris with 18 minutes remaining.

But Falkirk stunned the home side by taking the lead five minutes later. Shinnie surrendered possession inside the Bairns half, leaving Baird to take the ball to the bye-line where he won a corner off McGinn. David McCracken nodded Kerr's cross down and there was Baird to hook the ball high into the net.

Hibs, thoiugh, weren't going to go down withiout a fight and they hauled themselves level with seven minutes remaining, McGinn firing in a deep cross for Hanlon to send a towering header over Rogers.

Falkirk dug in to withstand that expected late onslaught, Rogers deynin the Edinburgh club a winner in added on time as he got down to push McGinn's low shot round the post.

Hibs: Laidlaw, McGregor, Hanlon, Fontaine (Harris 72), Gray (Cummings 72), Fyvie, McGinn, Stevenson, Shinnie (McGeouch 78), Boyle, Holt.

Substitutes not used: Virtanen, Bartley, Forster, Graham.

Falkirk: Rogers, Muirhead, McCracken, Gasparotto, Leahy, Hippolyte (Grant 87), Taiwo, Kerr, Sibbald (Rankin 52), Baird, Miller (McHugh 87).

Substitutes not used: Mehmet, Shepherd, Craigen. Watson.

Referee: John Beaton