Hamilton 0 - 1 Hibernian: Oli Shaw strikes as Hibs finally win
Neil Lennon’s side remain in eighth position but have at least moved to within a point of Aberdeen and can draw succour from the fact they were able to grind out a victory after going two months without one.
Certainly, assistant manager Garry Parker was happy to milk the positives from this performance which, while hardly stellar, nonetheless merited the outcome.
“A win is so important, just to give you confidence going forward; it’s a big weight off our minds,” he said.
“That was a massive relief for us – it was vitally important, and now they can have a couple of days to get themselves together again and build for next week.
“They’ll feel better about themselves, of course they will. When you’re not getting results week after week it’s a case of sleepless nights – I’ve been having them, I tell you. Today we go away happy because we’ve won the game, but we know there’s still a long way to go.”
It took 15 minutes before the first opening was manufactured. James Keatings, formerly on the books of both Edinburgh clubs, set up strike partner Rakish Bingham with a slide-rule pass but a goal-saving challenge from new signing Miquel Nelom put him off his stride and he sliced his shot wide from 15 yards.
Stephen Mallan’s goals have dried up since his impressive introduction at Easter Road but he twice tested goalkeeper Gary Woods – who replaced Jan Mucha after the Slovakian was injured during the warm-up – with long-range efforts. Ofir Marciano also proved his worth by diving to his left to beat away a venomous drive from Bingham.
Hibs have not had their troubles to seek in recent weeks and their plight worsened on the stroke of half-time when Australia winger Martin Boyle left the field on a stretcher after colliding with Woods.
Bizarrely, Woods was also unable to continue and debutant Jacob Marsden came on at the start of the second period.
He made two important saves to deny first Florian Kamberi and then Emerson Hyndman as the visitors looked to test the 21-year-old’s nerve.
Unfortunately, there was to be no fairy tale ending to his first appearance. When substitute Daryl Horgan’s low driven cross found Oli Shaw in space at the back stick, the striker had the time and the composure to cushion the ball behind Marsden.
There was the small consolation of preventing Shaw from claiming his sixth goal of the campaign at the death but, while Hibs’ problems appear to have eased with this result, Hamilton’s concerns have intensified.
Hamilton manager Martin Canning was once again frustrated by his charges’ inability to carry out basic instructions.
“You get days like that,” he said. “Even in the first half we missed a couple of good opportunities to take the lead and put Hibs under pressure. In the second half we started well. Ziggy Gordon heads just past the post and then we kind of fell out of the game and allowed Hibs to come back into it.
“We sat too deep, didn’t squeeze the game well enough. The goal typified it – there was a ball up and there was no contact, it goes wide and there’s no contact, there’s a cross into the box, no contact and then there’s a finish, no contact.
“If you do that against good players then you’re in trouble. We are not being clinical enough – at both ends of the pitch.”