New Hibs boss Nick Montgomery saw his team blow a two-goal lead as they squandered the chance to make a winning start against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.
An own goal by Kilmarnock goalie Will Dennis – courtesy of a Lewis Miller shot – after just seven minutes and a Dylan Vente finish just before the hour mark set Hibs on their way in front of nearly 2000 travelling fans.
But a Kyle Vassell strike just three minutes later gave Killie hope, before Joe Wright rose to head home a corner with 11 minutes remaining – leaving the visitors to settle for a point from a tough away fixture.
It took less than 15 seconds for Hibs to register their first shot on goal, Martin Boyle darting infield from his position on the left wing to force a brilliant leg save from Dennis.
And the Killie keeper denied Boyle again after just 16 minutes, tipping the Australian international’s goal-bound shot over the bar after neat build-up play involving Lewis Miller.
But Dennis was incredibly unlucky to concede the opener soon after, as Miller pounced on a bouncing ball from a corner kick, swivelled and hit towards goal. His low right-footed shot hit the keeper’s left-hand post, then bounced back off the Killie No. 1 before crossing the line.
If there was an element of fortune about the opener, it was no more than Hibs deserved for an electrifying start, with Boyle, Ellie Youan, Christian Doidge and Dylan Vente tearing into the home defence from all angles during that scintillating start to the Montgomery era.
There was nothing lucky about the second as Vente took a neat pass from Youan on the left and wrong-footed substitute keeper Kieran O’Hara, on for the luckless Dennis, with a low finish after 58 minutes.
When David Marshall could only parry a Brad Lyons shot three minutes later, Vassell was in the perfect position to make it 2-1.
Wright’s perfect header from an in-swinging Danny Armstrong corner completed the scoring on a day when both sides had chances to win the game.
David Marshall – 6/10
Couldn’t do much about the goals. Good handling and showed composure in frantic finish.
Lewis Miller – 7/10
Won’t be awarded his first Hibs goal. But did well to force opener in an eye-catching performance from right back.
Will Fish – 6/10
Manned the defences under pressure as Killie mounted a comeback. But couldn’t hold out.
Rocky Bushiri – 6/10
Conceded needless corner for the Killie equaliser. Still prone to rash moments.
Lewis Stevenson – 6/10
Dependable and steady without being flashy, gave way to Jordan Obita late on.
Martin Boyle – 7/10
Back to his best cutting in from left wing early on but faded on a tiring day for a player just back from Socceroos duty.
Jimmy Jeggo – 6/10
Solid showing in central midfield, snuffing out danger and putting in tackles.
Joe Newell – 7/10
Captain led by example in the middle of the pitch, mixing guile with grit to keep Hibs ticking over.
Elie Youan – 6/10
Involved in the second goal, full of running and ambition, without getting same joy as Boyle on opposite wing.
Dylan Vente – 7/10
Took his goal really well to cap a clever performance alongside two different striker partners.
Christian Doidge – 7/10
Put in a ferocious and intelligent shift alongside Vente. Forced off with a head wound at half-time.
Adam Le Fondre – 7/10
Replaced Doidge at half-time. Brought a touch and vision to play.
Josh Campbell – 6/10
On for Vente after 65 minutes, worked hard in centre forward role.
Jordan Obita – NA
On for Stevenson with five minutes remaining.
Jair Tavares – NA
Replaced Youan after 85 minutes.