By Euan Wood
Hibs earned a spot in the quarter-finals of the Premier Sports Cup with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Scottish Championship side Kilmarnock.
Kyle Magennis punished Kilmarnock captain Chris Stokes’ mistake minutes into the second half before Kevin Nisbet’s well-placed header doubled the Premiership club’s advantage. Jack Ross’ side will face Dundee United in the last eight.
The visitors came close to the opener after five minutes. Euan Murray’s long ball was poorly judged by the Hibs defence which allowed Scott Robinson to race through one-on-one with Matt Macey, but the forward’s low driven effort was easily gathered by Hibs’ goalkeeper.
Tommy Wright’s team continued to mount pressure on a Hibs side who were looking to bounce back from their midweek Europa Conference League exit at the hands of Rijeka in Croatia. Liam Polworth looked to have broken the deadlock for the visitors ten minutes from half time, as his long-range effort rattled off the crossbar.
It appeared to bounce over the line. However, referee Bobby Madden looked disinterested in the Killie players’ pleas. The hosts would open the scoring minutes into the second half, Kilmarnock captain Stokes’ mistimed clearance easily intercepted by Nisbet. The striker squared it to Magennis, who couldn’t miss from close range.
Nisbet would double Hibs’ lead with 15 minutes to play. Joe Newell’s superb chipped pass found Nisbet unmarked in the box and the forward superbly placed his header past into the top left corner. Here are the three things we learned.
Chances not taken
Wright will look to work on his side’s efforts in front of goal. Kilmarnock were in the ascendency in the first half with the better of the chances, Robinson’s early one-on-one the most notable efforts. Kilmarnock must improve ahead of a tough away trip to Hamilton next week.
Nisbet’s the key
Ross’ star performer was Nisbet. A well-worked move to set up teammate Magennis for the opener before coolly finishing his header deep into the second half rounded off a superb day for the forward. He will be a key player for Hibs this season, especially with the recent loss of Christian Doidge through injury.
Polworth’s exceptional strike minutes from half-time appeared to have crossed the line after ricocheting off the underside of the crossbar. In what was a pivotal point of the match, Killie will feel aggrieved with Madden’s decision.
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