Having undergone his medical earlier in the day, Jack Ross’ latest acquisition, Kyle Magennis, was at Easter Road to watch Hibernian bounce back from their weekend defeat by Celtic by beating Hamilton 3-2.
With the paperwork still to be rubber-stamped, the midfielder’s switch from St Mirren will be the latest bit of transfer business by the Leith club, who have managed to strengthen their squad despite the concern and chaos that has been whipped up by the coronavirus pandemic.
And while some have questioned where the money has come from when many in the industry claim to be in an increasingly desperate battle for survival, previous arrivals again demonstrated the value in snapping up players who are capable of helping the club secure a higher Premiership finish.
It was Kevin Nisbet who nabbed the two first-half goals that put this game out of Hamilton’s reach and set his side back on the right track after they had dropped five of the six points on offer in their last two outings, against both of the Old Firm sides.
Under the floodlights, Hibs had been enjoying a comfortable evening as Hamilton struggled to cope with their attacking onslaught in the first half and it could have been a far more emphatic scoreline had it not been for Hamilton keeper Kyle Gourlay.
His intervention, along with a couple of desperate blocks from the visiting defenders, gave Hamilton hope that they could close the gap and with a switch in personnel at the start of the second half and a vast improvement in their approach to the game they were actually one missed penalty away from earning a share of the points.
While the Kilmarnock game was called off to avoid the spread of covid cases in their ranks, Hamilton, not for the first time, had to absorb the loss of a player.
This time it was keeper Ryan Fulton, who had also tested positive and was forced into isolation, but Gourlay made sure that Brian Rice’s side.were not unduly disadvantaged.
Hibs had shuffled the pack, with Jamie Murphy back in the line-up and veteran Lewis Stevenson given a starting berth ahead of young Josh Doig.
They were the team on the front foot with Hamilton boss Rice annoyed that they were shown so much respect by his men, who took until the second half to get in their faces and find a way to cope with Hibs’ attacking pressure.
In the fourth minute a Joe Newell corner was swung in and Paul Hanlon stuck out a leg. The ball came off him and seemed to be heading towards goal but Gourlay got a hand to it to push it away. Hibs were camped in their guests’ half and in the seventh minute Martin Boyle had a shot blocked by Hakeem Odoffin at the edge of the six-yard box.
Odoffin had to halt Boyle again but in doing so conceded a free-kick. Taken by Nisbet, it was a low effort, which found a way past the wall and into the far bottom corner of the net. Precision rather than power, it gave Hibs the lead they deserved.
An angled ball to Paul McGinn was laid off for Boyle soon after that and he drove onto it and lashed a low dig across the face of goal and just centimetres wide of the far post.
But the home side extended their lead in the 35th minute.Newell played a ball in deep and it was Nisbet who was lurking in the box to glance a headed finish in off the underside of the crossbar.
Doidge was then through on goal but this time Gourlay came out and made himself big to block the Welshman’s strike.
If the first half was one-sided, the second half saw Hamilton come back at Hibs.
David Templeton came close but it was from the spot kick that they should have pulled one back.
McGinn brought down Marios Ogkmpoe and although it looked like initial contact was outside the box Bobby Madden awarded the penalty. But justice was served as a keeper Ofir Marciano dived the right way and got his body down to his left to gather.
Nisbet, Boyle and Doidge all had efforts and Goulay pulled off another couple of cracking saves. But defender Paul Hanlon did finally grab the third goal.
It was to prove the winning one as Ryan Porteous, pictured left, conceded a 75th minute penalty and this time Ross Callachan sent it high into the net.
Then with six minutes remaining Hamilton reduced the deficit further as Porteous deflected the ball into his own net to ensure the final few minutes were not as comfortable as they should have been.
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