Martin Boyle was the key protagonist in Hibernian’s 2-0 Scottish Premiership win over 10-man Hamilton at Easter Road.
Accies were reduced to 10 men in the 11th minute when teenage defender Jamie Hamilton was shown a straight red card by referee Craig Napier for a studs-up challenge on the Hibs attacker, who then fired the home side into the lead a minute later.
Boyle then saw a 33rd-minute penalty saved by Accies goalkeeper Ryan Fulton.
And in the 69th minute his deflected cross was headed in by 18-year-old defender Josh Doig for his first goal for the Edinburgh side and it stretched the home side’s winning run to four games.
Jack Ross’s men remain in third place behind Rangers and Celtic, with a four-point lead over Aberdeen and a game in hand.
Despite a spirited display with a man down for the vast majority of the game, it was second-bottom Hamilton’s first defeat in four games and they remain one point ahead of Ross County, who play Celtic on Sunday.
It was the Lanarkshire outfit who started the brighter.
Hibs keeper Ofir Marciano tipped a low drive from Hamilton wing-back Scott McMann around the post in the third minute for a corner.
Doig was then dispossessed on the edge of his box by Hamilton striker Marios Ogkmpoe, whose quick-fire shot was tipped against a post and behind by Marciano for a corner which came to nothing.
A minute of drama proved to be game changing.
Boyle was left prostrate by Hamilton’s lunging tackle around 20 yards inside the Lanarkshire side’s half, although how much contact was made was unclear, and the defender walked for the fourth time in his fledgling career.
Moments later, the Australia international curled a shot from the edge of the box past Fulton for his fifth goal in four games and Accies wobbled.
Fulton made a fine save from Doig’s 25-yard drive in the 18th minute before Ogkmpoe went off injured to be replaced by David Moyo, who was adjudged to have tripped Hibernian’s Christian Doidge inside the penalty area following a corner.
Boyle slammed the spot-kick to his left but Fulton threw himself at full stretch to push the ball around the post for a corner.
Hibs should have doubled their lead just before the break when Boyle set up Chris Cadden inside the box but the midfielder slashed his shot wide.
Accies kept fighting in the second half and in the 53rd minute demonstrated their threat when forward Bruce Anderson tested Marciano with a decent drive.
Fulton was busy again shortly afterwards with a fine save at his near post from Cadden’s powerful and more accurate drive, before blocking a close-range effort from Darren McGregor.
Hibs’ slender lead kept hope alive for Accies and they pushed players forward, but Boyle again proved influential when he reached the by-line before sending in a cross which bounced up off a Hamilton defender allowing Doig to head into an empty net and secure the points.
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