Hibs moved one point clear of Rangers in second place in the Championship with an emphatic 4-1 win over Alloa Athletic at Easter Road this afternoon.
Alan Stubbs made three changes to the starting XI that beat Livingston on Wednesday with Liam Craig, Scott Allan and Dominique Malonga replacing the injured Fraser Fyvie and Dylan McGeouch whilst Farid El Alagui had to be content with a place on the bench.
The Hibs’ players all wore black arm bands and a minute’s applause was held before kick off in memory of former player Tommy Preston.
Hibs started brightly and should have taken the lead after a period of sustained pressure when Scott Allan sent an inch perfect cross to Malonga who was unmarked inside the six yard box but the striker mistimed his header and the ball flew past the post.
Hibs then had two penalty claims rejected in quick succession, firstly when Jason Cummings was manhandled then when the ball appeared to strike an Alloa defender’s hand during a scramble in the area.
Hibs dominated possession and took a deserved lead in the 30th minute when a superb through ball from Allan found Martin Boyle and the on-loan winger calmly slotted the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the net.
Just before the break, Allan took a quick free kick and Craig fired in an unstoppable shot from an acute angle with the Alloa defenders waiting on a cross.
Craig almost added a third five minutes after the break but his 25 yard strike came back off the inside of the post.
Hibs wrapped the game up on the hour mark when another slide rule pass from Allan found Malonga who unselfishly passed to Cummings who scored with a tap in.
Two minutes later, Easter Road erupted with the news that Falkirk had taken the lead against Rangers and that appeared to distract the Hibs’ players. A long cross into the box was misjudged by Liam Fontaine and Iain Flannigan nipped in to score.
With 20 minutes remaining, Hibs restored their three goal advantage when Allan’s cross to the back post was met by Fontaine who headed the ball into the path of Malonga and the big striker made no mistake from close range.
Nine minutes later Danny Handling had the ball in the net but Malonga was judged to be offside during the build up.
In the closing stages Hibs were denied a third penalty when Boyle was wrestled to the ground inside the area but again referee John McKendrick waved away the appeals.
Hibs: Oxley, Forster, Hanlon, Fontaine,Stevenson, Robertson, Allan, Craig, Boyle, Malonga, Cummings. Subs: Cerny, Stanton, El Alagui, Dunsmore, Dje Djedje, Martin, Handling.
Alloa Athletic: Gibson, Docherty, Doyle, Benedictus, Gordon, McCord, Holmes, Flannigan, Cawley, Buchanan, Ferguson. Subs: Couser, Rutherford, Chopra, Spence, Tiffoney, Layne, Hetherington.