Rocky Bushiri red card fails to aid Dundee as Hibs show graft to earn point with 10 men

Although the game was badly in need of an injection of life being reduced to ten men just before the hour mark was not the flash point desired by Hibs.

Hibs defender Rocky Bushiri walks off after being shown a red card in the goalless draw with Dundee.  (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)
Hibs defender Rocky Bushiri walks off after being shown a red card in the goalless draw with Dundee. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

Defender Rocky Bushiri was shown a straight red card by referee David Munro after he caught Dundee midfielder Paul McGowan with a flailing arm.

Being handed such an advantage with still so long to go should have been the stimulus for the hosts to give their suffering fans a fillip but they tied themselves in knots trying to make the extra man count.

Hibs are proving themselves to be something quite unexpected under Shaun Maloney, such an attractive, watchable footballer. They are not the freewheeling Hibs. They are not the easy-on-the-eye Hibs. Not yet at least. Instead, they are grafters.

Dundee's Danny Mullen put in a high challenge on Hibs' Jake Doyle-Hayes at Dens Park. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

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This was their second goalless draw in a row and, as against Celtic on Sunday, it should probably be regarded as a point won even though they drop a place to fifth. The 923 visiting fans certainly seemed to appreciate the efforts of their players although this applause came only after the expected volley of jeers directed at Munro. It did look a soft red card. It didn’t even seem to aid Dundee, who ran out of ideas in the end and were probably just as grateful for the point and clean sheet. Substitute Sylvester Jasper and Josh Doig could not covert late chances for Hibs.

Dundee were not helped in the creativity department when Charlie Adam went down injured shortly after the red card incident. The skipper was the home side’s sole source of creativity in a poor opening 45 minutes. For a spell it was 10 v 10 as Shaun Byrne made a delayed entrance. It seemed to suit Dundee better. The pressure of having the additional man appeared to faze them.

The pitch stood up well despite the pre-match deluge so that was not an acceptable excuse for the paltry fare.

Hibs are suffering something of an injury crisis. They were missing as many as ten players, including knee ligament victim Kevin Nisbet. They should still have had enough to pose more problems for bottom place Dundee in the opening 45 minutes.

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The hosts performed like a team trying to play their way back into confidence. Hibs, with only one league win since Boxing Day, are hardly overdosing on self-assurance themselves. They, too, looked somewhat apprehensive but could claim to have had the better chances in a dire first half.

Ian Lawlor clutched Ryan Porteous’ header under the bar shortly before half time while the Dundee ‘keeper comfortably gathered Drey Wright’s shot on the turn a few moments later. It was a late flurry of activity that belied the earlier somewhat laboured back-and-forth between the sides.

The second half was better and not solely because of the interest provided by the imbalance in numbers after Bushiri’s exit. Both sides had come close to opening the scoring in the minutes before the Hibs defender took his leave. A Chris Cadden effort zipped past Lawlor’s far post. Adam, meanwhile, could not quite produce the finish his twisting, turning solo run deserved.

The heat was on Dundee to secure the goal their fans clearly expected now that they had the benefit of an extra player. It doesn’t always work out like that. It didn’t here.

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Maloney managed the game well from the visitors’ perspective and Hibs might have sneaked a winner. As it was, neither side could fashion a cast-iron chance. It seemed of greater regret to the hosts, who remain in last place although a point nearer St Johnstone.

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