Hibernian 1 – 0 Kilmarnock

Josh Campbell scored the only goal of the game to see off St Johnstone and hand Hibernian head coach Nick Montgomery his first Premiership victory in seven games.

The midfielder slotted home from close range after Martin Boyle did brilliantly to tee up his team-mate.

The result moves the Easter Road club to within a point of sixth-placed Kilmarnock in the cinch Premiership.

Kilmarnock played well in patches but their long wait for a win in Leith was stretched to 10 games.

How Hibs earned victory against St Johnstone

Hibernian’s Josh Campbell celebrates with Jair Tavares after making it 1-0

In a bright start to the match Jair Tavares went close with a solo effort from outside the area after four minutes.

The Portuguese winger got away from Joe Wright with a neat bit of skill but his curling effort flew just past the top corner.

Hibs forward Boyle then had the ball in the net moments later but the effort was ruled out for offside.

Kilmarnock gave as good as they got during the early exchanges and Liam Donnelly should have done better with a half-volley at the back post that he fired over from a Daniel Armstrong corner.

At the other end, Boyle raced clear after Donnelly had a square pass cut out but the Australia international lost his footing in the box as he was chased down by Stuart Findlay.

But the hosts were not to be denied in the 36th minute as Boyle provided a great assist for Campbell.

The pacey forward spun away in a congested centre circle and rode a cynical challenge from Donnelly that earned the midfielder a retrospective booking.

Boyle then flicked a pass to Campbell inside the area and the midfielder placed a low drive past Will Dennis.

Kilmarnock brought on Matty Kennedy for Donnelly at the break as they looked to get a foothold in the game.

But the visitors struggled to create any meaningful opportunities in a second half that lacked entertainment at both ends.

Tavares went close for Hibs again with an effort from outside the box but Dennis did brilliantly to push the shot round the post for a corner.

With Hibs having surrendered winning positions in their last two league games, tensions grew among the home fans as the match approached the closing stages.

Campbell was denied a second goal in the 86th minute when his stinging drive from outside the box was repelled by Dennis.

Hibs goalkeeper David Marshall then made a save at his near post to keep out Rory McKenzie.

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Hibernian boss Nick Montgomery reflects on their win over Kilmarnock at Easter Road.

Hibernian head coach Nick Montgomery: “Martin (Boyle) is a special player and we have to protect him. Coming off in the semi-final (against Aberdeen) he took a little knock.

“We can’t take risks on a player of Martin’s stature at the club and it was the right decision to leave him on the bench at St Mirren.

“It freshened him up and he has had a disallowed goal, possible penalty call and a couple at the end where he just lost his footing.

“Martin is a big player for us and it’s important that we don’t take risks when it’s not necessary.”

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Kilmarnock’s Derek McInnes was pleased with his side’s commitment but says they need quality. He also confirmed he reported a Hibernian fan for an offensive comment.

Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes: “We should have done better in dealing with the initial move when Boyle got on the half turn.

“I saw when he was rested against St Mirren, I thought they should have let him run riot against Stevie’s (Robinson) team and left him on the bench against us.

“He’s the one that makes the difference and his part in the goal was decisive for them. The game was decided by a big moment with Boyle at the heart of it.

“But we are disappointed we didn’t manage to take anything from a game I felt we could have. We were just looking for those moments of quality.”

What’s next?

Hibernian are away to Dundee in their next Scottish Premiership match on November 25, while Kilmarnock face Ross County in Dingwall.

Both games kick-off at 3pm.

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