Jason Cummings 16th goal of the season pushed Hibs seven points clear at the top of the Championship table as Neil Lennon’s side were forced to settle for a third successive draw against Raith Rovers.
Ex-Jambo Ryan Stevenson had fired Raith ahead with a tremendous shot seven minutes into the second half but Cummings delivered a sumptuous free-kick on the hour mark to stretch Hibs unbeaten run to 11 matches.
There was an unusual look to Raith’s line-up with two Ryan Stevensons listed, the one in the starting XI being the former Hearts midfielder, the other a 19-year-old member of Rovers’ development squad.
Hibs had been guilty of a sloppy start to their last Championship match with Ayr United and they did likewise against a Raith side obviously fired up by the arrival of Hughes, goalkeeper Ofir Marciano alert enough to beat away a powerfully driven free-kick from Stevenson. It didn’t take long for Neil Lennon to let his displeasure be known, the Hibs manager appearing at the edge of his technical area to give full vent to his feelings.
A swirling wind and a bobbly pitch didn’t help but neither did a string of careless passes from the capital side as they struggled to bring any fluency to their game, the match littered with a succession of niggly fouls from both sides.
After 14 matches without a win the Raith fans were greatly encouraged by what they were seeing while those from Edinburgh gathered behind Marciano’s goal were watching in virtual silence. Raith goalkeeper Conor Brennan had been called into action, however, but he easily dealt with shots from John McGinn, Cummings and James Keatings.
Raith took a deserved lead seven minutes into the second half. Bobby Barr had given up on a ball which appeared to be running out of play but had second thoughts, catching it and delivering a cross which wasn’t cleared properly by the Hibs defence, the ball falling for Stevenson 25 yards out and he let fly with a tremendous shot which had Marciano beaten all ends up.
Hughes took the unusual decision to make a triple substitution with 58 minutes gone and within two more Hibs were level, Ross Matthew bringing down Cummings who took the resultant free-kick himself, curling a wonderful shot high into the left hand corner of Brennan’s net.
The Hibs fans were suddenly in full voice, Liam Fontaine throwing himself at Keatings’ corner only to send the ball straight at Brennan before a tempting free-kick from Keatings just eluded the outstretched boot of Brian Graham. Cummings was then only inches away from claiming a second as he wheeled on Jean-Yves M’Voto’s clearance to shoot just wide with Brennan struggling to get there.
The point moves Hibs seven ahead of Dundee United who were not on league duty this weekend.
Raith Rovers: Brennan, Thomson, M’Voto, Benedictus (Johnston 58), C Barr, Matthews, Callachan, Thompson, R Stevenson (Coustrain 58), B Barr, Stewart (McManus 58).
Substitutes not used: R Stevenson, Hardie, Roberts, Skacel.
Hibs: Marciano, Gray, McGregor, Fontaine, Stevenson, Bartley, Fyvie (Humphrey 58), McGinn, Keatings (Boyle 70), Cummings, Graham (Holt 84).
Substitutes not used: Laidlaw, Donaldson, Crane, Crane, Martin.
Referee: Craig Charleston.