The lunchtime kick-off at Rugby Park proved to be a tad too early for a Kilmarnock team that spent the first 15 minutes of their match against Hibs still half asleep.
While Killie were still rousing themselves, Hibs made a dream start, going a goal up before anyone had even settled in their seat. Lewis Stevenson’s cross was deflected by Gary Dicker towards Florian Kamberi, who took advantage of the opening to rocket the ball into the net with just 28 seconds on the clock.
That would, you would have thought, acted as a wake-up call for Killie but that could not have been further from the truth, with Hibs remaining entirely in control, which resulted in their lead being doubled after just nine minutes when Ryan Porteous bulleted home a header from a John McGinn corner to notch up his first league goal.
Jamie MacLaren should have made it three just a minute later but from there, Kilmarnock regained something of their composure and shored things up, at least partially.
Hibs continued to look dangerous every time they charged forward but they could not add to their lead while Killie’s best chance came just before half-time when Jordan Jones hit the post from 25 yards out.
The Ayrshire side began the second half much improved and they were rewarded in the 57th minute when Jones found the top corner with a cracking shot from the edge of the box. The home side then were awarded a penalty after Efe Ambrose brought down Jones inside the box. Kris Boyd’s penalty was saved by Ofir Marciano but the striker knocked the follow-up in, with Hibs manager Neil Lennon was sent to the stand in the aftermath of Kilmarnock’s equaliser.
By this point, Kilmarnock were in the ascendancy but despite a number of near misses, they could not snatch a winner.
In the end, it was Hibs manager Neil Lennon who was most satisfied with a point but he was particularly vexed as he felt the quality of Kilmarnock’s astroturf pitch put his side at a severe disadvantage.
“I’m delighted to come away with a point,” he said.
“If we had got beaten this would have sounded like sour grapes but the pitch is abysmal. I can understand why Kilmarnock have won seven matches in a row here. It is impossible to play football on it. It’s dangerous, players are slipping, losing their balance, falling over.
“It’s dry, they should really water it. But they won’t because it’s a disadvantage to them. We’ve had to overcome that and also overcome another appalling refereeing decision and performance. So to come away with a point, I’ve got to be satisfied.”
Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke was, despite his team looking down and out after ten minutes of the match, ultimately disappointed by only taking a single point from the game.
“I was disappointed to drop two points in a game we should have won because we were the better team almost from start to finish,” he said.
“It was a really disappointing start but we recovered well and played a lot of good stuff.
“I think we’ve shown since I’ve been at the club the spirit is good and we react to adversity. But the over-riding feeling is disappointment is we’ve dropped two points at home.”