Kilmarnock 1-3 Hibernian

Hibernian moved three points clear of the Scottish Premier League relegation spot after comfortably beating Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

On-loan Stoke midfielder Tom Soares struck his first Hibs goal to break the deadlock in the 17th minute.

Roy O'Donovan's impressive shot stretched the visitors' lead a minute into the second half.

Soares fired his second of the day before Dean Shiels pulled a goal back for Killie with a free-kick.

With Dunfermline losing at St Johnstone, Hibs open up a three-point gap on the Fife side with a game in hand, while Killie lie eighth.

After a quiet start to the match, the visitors began to exert some pressure and moved into the lead.

Striker Leigh Griffiths dropped deep and sent the ball through for Soares to run on to and fire past goalkeeper Cammy Bell.

Griffiths then lifted a shot over Bell's crossbar as Killie continued to allow Hibs too much space.

The home side went on the attack and a Michael Nelson shot was helped on by James Dayton, but keeper Graham Stack was untroubled.

George Francomb's free-kick clipped the top of Bell's crossbar and the keeper then made a couple of saves to deny Griffiths, with Soares also having an effort saved.

Garry Hay's long-range effort flew wide of the Hibs goal shortly before half-time.

Hibs doubled their lead early in the second half after O'Donovan pounced on a loose ball outside the Killie box, spun and guided the ball into the net.

Nelson's header was cleared off the line by Francomb as Killie tried to mount a comeback, but they fell fruther behind in the 66th minute.

The unmarked Soares met Griffiths' cross and smashed the ball past Bell.

Kilmarnock reduced the deficit seven minutes from the end, former Hibs forward Shiels curling a free-kick into the top corner.

The Ayrshire side rallied in the closing stages, but chances for Paul Heffernan and Dieter van Tornhout were not taken.

Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels: "I am very disappointed. It's the fourth time this season that we have lost to the team that is bottom or joint bottom.

"That is a big question of our strength of character. There's contributing factors, but they are only excuses really.

"We had quite a bit of domination in the last 30 minutes, but Hibs came here and did a very good job.

"They did all the good things about the British game today and came out on top. We can have no complaints."

Hibernian manager Pat Fenlon: "It was very pleasing today. I thought from start to finish we were very good and the players stuck to what we asked of them.

"I thought we played probably the best football since I have arrived in the first 45 minutes.

"We have come here and performed very well. It is a hard place to come and the players can take massive belief from the result.

"I felt we were unlucky the other night against Motherwell and today's result is a big lift."

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