Hibernian goalkeeper Ofir Marciano shines during goalless draw with Kilmarnock
Ofir Marciano was the hero as Hibernian maintained their unbeaten Ladbrokes Premiership record under Paul Heckingbottom with a goalless draw against Kilmarnock.
The Israel international made a sensational second-half save to deny Jordan Jones, while Kris Boyd, Stuart Findlay and Kirk Broadfoot all came up short against the Easter Road goalkeeper.
Hibs, with 16 points out of a possible 18 under Heckingbottom, were uncharacteristically toothless, only testing Daniel Bachmann through speculative efforts from Stevie Mallan and Daryl Horgan.
Nevertheless, the point was enough to secure their top-six status and overtake Hearts ahead of Saturday’s Edinburgh derby. Kilmarnock, meanwhile, have been reeled in by Aberdeen in the race for third.
Despite the clash pitching two of the more enterprising sides in the Premiership against each other, it was 28 minutes before either goalkeeper had cause to dirty their gloves. A fine Rory McKenzie corner was met by Findlay, who headed into the arms of Marciano.
That seemed to spark the hosts into life and Daryl Horgan soon stung the palms of Killie stopper Bachmann after surging forward and unleashing a curling effort from the edge of the box.
McKenzie’s set-piece deliveries were proving the visitors’ most potent threat and he almost crafted an opener on the cusp of half-time when his in-swinging free-kick found Broadfoot. However, the former Scotland defender’s point-blank header was denied by Marciano.
Mallan summed up a frustrating evening for the hosts when he felt the need to unleash a speculative effort from all of 40 yards. While he did hit the target, it was comfortably gathered by Bachmann.
And Kilmarnock were presented with a wonderful opportunity to break the deadlock 10 minutes into the second half. Jones intercepted a woeful pass from Paul Hanlon before haring clean through on goal, but Marciano spared the stalwart’s blushes with a magnificent one-handed block.
Boyd, without a goal since a strike against Aberdeen on November 4, fired an instinctive drive narrowly wide from close range after Broadfoot had met a deep corner-kick by fellow substitute Chris Burke.
Boyd then prodded a shot into the grateful grasp of Marciano after meeting another Burke set-piece with six minutes left on the clock. That would prove as close as either side would come.
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