Motherwell 0 - 1 Hibs: Martin Boyle pounces on blunder for win
The Steelmen had been on a fine run of four wins on the bounce - including a stunning victory over Rangers in last week’s Betfred Cup semi-final - but they were well off the pace in a 1-0 defeat.
After scraping a narrow win over Dundee on Wednesday, the recent run of games looked to catch up with Well as they struggled to impose their trademark intensity on Neil Lennon’s side.
Martin Boyle scored the only goal of the game to make it back-to-back 1-0 wins for Hibs and draw the two sides level on points.
The early stages of the game saw little to excite the crowd at Fir Park.
Hibs enjoyed the majority of the possession with the hosts happy to sit behind the ball and break, but a cautious opening saw few real chances created.
The first chance of note came in the 18th minute as Simon Murray found Boyle down the right, only for the striker to fire straight at Trevor Carson from an acute angle and see his shot blocked.
They continued to probe in midfield, but in the end it was a simple long ball from Murray that brought about the opening goal.
His ball over the top was misjudged by Cedric Kipre, letting Boyle race in behind and the forward got a toe on it to knock the ball past the onrushing Carson before calmly side-footing the ball into an empty goal.
The recalled Louis Moult, who struggled to make an impact in the first period, finally got a glimpse of goal in the final minutes of the first period, but curled wide from the edge of the area after Ryan Bowman’s lay-off.
Stephen Robinson let his players know what he thought their first-half performance, hooking Elliott Frear and Carl McHugh at the break, and there was an immediate increase in intensity from his side.
Gael Bigirimana, one of the substitutes, had a decent effort from 30 yards saved and Craig Tanner, the other, saw his fizzing free-kick drift wide of the far post with only a touch needed.
However Hibs remained dangerous on the break, with Murray seeing a goal chalked off for offside before Brandon Barker thrashed over wildly from inside the area after being set free by Lewis Stevenson.
Debutat Deimantas Petravicius thought he had the equaliser when he met Chris Cadden’s low ball across the area, only for Steven Whittaker to produce a superb block on the line.
Charles Dunne prodded in from an offside position as Well upped the tempo late on, but Hibs, chiefly through John McGinn and Dylan McGeouch, controlled the game and deserved the three points.