Florian Kamberi hat-trick sinks Hamilton
Florian Kamberi hit a hat-trick as Hibernian fired themselves firmly into the fight for second spot in the Ladbrokes Premiership with a 3-1 win over Hamilton at Easter Road.
Marios Ogkmpoe was gifted an early opener by Leith keeper Ofir Marciano but Swiss frontman Kamberi quickly made amends for his team-mate with the equaliser.
Accies were reduced to 10 men with half an hour left when skipper Dougie Imrie was dismissed following two fouls on Martin Boyle.
And Hibs made the most of their man advantage as Kamberi struck twice more to take his tally to six goals in just eight games since sealing his January loan switch from Grasshopper Club Zurich.
Neil Lennon’s Edinburgh outfit remain four points behind Aberdeen but are now breathing down third-place Rangers’ necks after trimming their lead to just one.
Marciano was back in for the first time since his costly red card against St Johnstone but his attempts to get back in Lennon’s good books fell flat inside nine minutes.
There appeared little threat as Antonio Rojano sent his cross straight to the Israeli stopper but Marciano blundered badly as he spilled straight to Accies frontman Ogkmpoe, who could barely believe his luck as he tucked home from five yards.
But Hibs did not let that setback derail them.
They should have levelled within three minutes when the visitors were caught stock-still as Scott Allan whipped in a free-kick from wide on the right, but Kamberi could only smash his volley off the woodwork.
The goal-frame was shaking again moments later as Gary Woods inexplicably pushed a Lewis Stevenson cross against his crossbar.
But there was no stopping Kamberi’s next effort as he rifled home the equaliser on 17 minutes. The big striker did well to exchange passes with Dylan McGeouch as Accies pressed in and kept his composure while switching the ball onto his right foot and lashing an 18-yard finish into the bottom corner.
Having been booked 11 minutes in for a trip on Boyle, Imrie got his marching orders just after the hour mark as he collided again with the Hibs wideman.
And it took just 60 seconds for the hosts to make the most of their numerical advantage as Kamberi got his head to Boyle’s free-kick, nodding in off the post on 63 minutes.
Kamberi claimed the match ball with six minutes left as he raced onto a Paul Hanlon throughball before slotting under Woods to heap fresh worry on Hamilton, who now hold just a five-point cushion over both relegation spots.