This narrow 1-0 victory makes it four wins in a row for Lee Johnson’s men, but it did not come easy.
Before kick-off, only one point separated Hibernian and Motherwell, and the close nature of the sides was visible on the pitch. The first 15 minutes were very intense with goal-scoring opportunities for the home side, particularly for French winger Élie Youan. The rhythm then came down and was scrappy with many fouls, the players going back to the dressing rooms without a goal scored during the first half.
The game resumed in the sun but the day darkened for the visitors with Connor Shields’ red card in the 57th minute, for a foul on defender Ryan Porteous heading towards the goal. Ten minutes later, the 16,435 fans jumped for joy as Porteous, the man of the match, broke the deadlock. Hibs striker Mykola Kukharevych also saw his effort disallowed for offside.
Speaking to Hibs TV after the game, Johnson praised his team’s character and the fans; “The spirit from the stands was fantastic, our spirit on the pitch was fantastic, and the goal optimises our spirit; Ryan Porteous putting his head in where it hurts scoring a magnificent header.” This victory was also notable for Lewis Stevenson, who made his 550th appearance in green and white. The talismanic midfielder stated, “That is the way the Manager wants us to play and it was really good to watch.”
The Hibs retained their status as the second-best defence in the league with another clean sheet for David Marshall (who has conceded only seven goals in nine matches). This precious success brought the Hibs up to third place, behind only Celtic and Rangers. A tough week awaits now for Hibernian’s players with two games away, Dundee United this Tuesday before meeting the league leaders at Celtic Park on Saturday.
Image attributed to Victor Gautier.