Jason Cummings stepped off the bench to claim his 15th goal of the season to salvage a point for Hibs after Ayr United had shocked the Edinburgh club by taking a fourth minute lead at Easter Road.
Rab Crawford was allowed to waltz his way through the home defence to beat Ross Laidlaw and although the Chanpionship leaders threw everything at their part-time opponents they had to wait until 15 minutes from the end for Cummings to head home the equaliser.
Ayr substitute Brian Gilmouir made sure his side held on for a point, heading a net bouind effort from Grant Holt off his own line with only three minutes remaining.
Ayr United were the only team to have beaten Hibs at Easter Road in the league this season and they shocked Neil Lennon’s side by taking the lead with only fou rminutews on the clock. The usually tight Hibs defence backed off as Crawford ran at them cutting in from the right to create enough space to fire in a low shot. It didn’t appear to carry too much weight enough to beat the unsighted Laidlaw as he threw himself low to his left in a desperate but vain attempt to prevent it crossing the line.
The home side were clearly rattled, their distribution and weight of pass poor as Ayr got everyone behind the ball, content to have the league leaders play in front of them while they tricked to nick possession and hit on the break.
It was a miserable opening half-hour from Hibs and the fans weren’t slow to let them know although James Keatings went close to making them a bit happier, his powerfully struck free kick from 25 yards forcing Ayr goalkeeper /Greg Fleming to throw himself to his right to push the ball aside.
And Fleming did even better a couple of minutes later as the ball spun high into the air as Patrick Boyle blocked Chris Humphrey’s shot, Hibs Martin Boyle meeting it as it dropped only to find the Ayr goalkeeper blocking his way with a smothering save.
Fleming was beginning to find himself rather busy and he again did well to be in the right place as Andrew Shinnie thrust out a foot at his near post to meet Keatings’ low cross before Shinnie threw at himself at Fraser Fyvie’s cross only to head over.
It had been a truly dreadful first half from Hibs so it came as no suprirse to find veteran striker Grant Holt replacing Humphrey after the interval, but still Lennon’s players toiled to impose themselves on the game despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession.
Hibs continued to press forward without much reward and Lennon made a second change with half an hour remaining, top scorer Jason Cummings replacing Shinnie in a bid to give the home attack a bit of bite.
The Capital club finally hauled themselves level with 15 minutes to go. Keatings threw in a tempting cross which led to both Holt and Cummings rising to meet it, the ball flying into the net - the goal awarded to the club’s top scorer Cummings.
The 21-year-old then forced a great save from Fleming and from the resulting corner Holt powered in a net bound header which Gilmour took off his own line.
Hibs: Laidlaw, Gray, McGregor, Fontaine, Stevenson, Shinnie (Cummings 59), Fyvie, McGinn, Humphrey (Holt 46), Keatings, M Boyle (Graham 80)
Substitutes not used: Gallacher, Bartley, McGeouch, Graham, Crane.
Ayr United: Fleming, Devlin, Balatoni, Docherty, Meggatt, Crawford, McDaid, Adams (Gilmour 46), Cairney (McGufie 63), Harkins, P Boyle.
Substiutes not used: Hart, Rose, Murphy, Forrest, Wardrope.
Referee: Crawford Allan