This was not the sole reason the in-form player distinguished himself in the 2-0 win over Kilmarnock. Opposition manager Tommy Wright hailed Magennis’ sportsmanship after the former St Mirren player seemed to resist the opportunity to strike again shortly after his 50th minute opener when defender Chris Stokes pulled up with a hamstring injury.
Manager Jack Ross sent out a strong side albeit one without the injured Christian Doidge. Hibs prevailed but they will need to be proactive if they are to limit the impact Doidge’s misfortune could have on their season. The striker will be sidelined until December.
Magennis stepped up to the mark again with his fourth goal in his last five appearances. What a revelation he has been after an injury-disrupted first season at Easter Road. And Kevin Nisbet did what he does, deftly flicking in a header after Joe Newell’s chip into the box. He also set up Magennis’ opener, unselfishly laying the ball off to his left. All his teammate had to do was roll the ball in.
A potentially contentious moment near the start of the second half did not prove significant in terms of the game’s outcome. Still, Championship title favourites Killie will rue the moment Stokes grabbed his hamstring before collapsing to the turf. Their skipper is now expected to be out for a few weeks at least.
Stokes was trying to see a ball out to safety while pursued by Magennis. The Hibs man quickly latched on to the loose ball as the defender lay stricken. A goal seemed likely to follow but a shrill blast of Bobby Madden’s whistle brought proceedings to a half and resulted in a round of booing from the Hibs supporters.
Wright applauded Magennis, who he felt had helped make Madden’s mind up for him by stopping momentarily. It was supreme fair play from the attacking midfielder if he did pause out of concern for Stokes - Hibs were only a goal ahead at the time.
“Kyle Magennis deserves a bit of credit because he made up the referee’s mind for him,” said the Kilmarnock manager. “I understand Jack will be disappointed – we would’ve been if it happened to us – but it was great sportsmanship from Kyle, who probably should have played on.”
While concerned for Stokes’ plight, Ross was not so on board with Madden’s decision – and told the referee so afterwards. “It’s not something that happens very often in matches. I’d like to see if it’s repeated with other officials throughout the season,” said the Hibs manager.
It wasn’t the rollicking atmosphere one might have expected although the Killie fans were in good voice initially as the visitors took the game to Hibs. Liam Polwarth’s long-range shot crashed down off the bar and back out again. Scott Robinson should have done better when through one on one with Hibs ‘keeper Matt Macey, who blocked.
Both end stands were closed due to renovations, but they were not required in any case. Just 5990 attended when Hibs had been given the green light for 12,000.