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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 February 2008, 21:50 GMT
Hibernian 4-2 Gretna
Hibs goalscorer Colin Nish
Colin Nish opened the scoring for Hibs on his home debut
Steven Fletcher claimed a hat-trick as Hibernian withstood a late fightback from Gretna to secure victory.

The hosts cruised into a 3-0 lead as Colin Nish marked his home debut with the opener before Fletcher hit a double including a superb volley.

Gretna staged a spirited comeback with two goals in the final 10 minutes from Gavin Skelton and Kenny Deuchar.

But keeper Greg Fleming was sent off after upending Nish in the penalty area and Fletcher converted the spot-kick.

With less than a minute on the clock on-loan Everton teenager John Paul Kissock cut inside and struck a fierce 20-yard effort that the Hibs goalkeeper Yves Ma-Kalambay palmed away for a corner.

Gretna were knocking the ball around with no little flair, but their early fire was soon extinguished when the hosts claimed a ninth-minute lead.

Fletcher did well to outmuscle Kyle Naughton on the left.

And his ball across goal allowed January signing Nish, making his home debut, to slide in and net from six yards.

Gretna refused to let their heads drop and the lively Kissock was at the heart of their best moves.

He clipped the top of the netting with an attempted 18th-minute cut-back.

However, much like the first goal, Hibs roared back up the park within seconds and scored a magnificent second.

Abderaouf Zarabi's long ball was not properly headed clear by Craig Barr and the ball fell to Fletcher, who swept a 25-yard looping volley over Fleming.

Fletcher almost grabbed a quick double when he was left unmarked and fired a fierce drive off the underside of the bar.

Fleming came to Gretna's rescue on 37 minutes with a fantastic double save from Filipe Morais and Fletcher.

Gretna returned quickly for the second period and Kissock, again, immediately brought out the best in Ma-Kalambay from the edge of the penalty area.

Skelton then tried his luck from distance but his drive flew over the Hibs keeper's bar as the visitors pressed.

However, Gretna's defensive frailties were soon exposed again when Mixu Paatelainen's men put the match beyond doubt as early as the 58th minute.

Morais picked out Fletcher and the youngster beautifully controlled the ball on his chest before sweeping it high past Fleming.

Hibs continued to threaten but Gretna gave themselves a glimmer of hope nine minutes from time when Skelton netted.

Sub Brendan McGill scampered down the right and was given time to cross where he picked out Skelton to steer the ball home from 10 yards.

McGill gave Hibs another scare before more late drama followed on 88 minutes when the visitors scored again.

Kissock's free-kick landed perfectly at the head of Deuchar and he easily nodded home unopposed.

However, just when Gretna sensed a remarkable comeback, Hibs sealed the points.

The on-rushing Nish was felled by Fleming and referee Iain Brines awarded a penalty as well as handing the keeper a straight red card.

Deuchar took his jersey but was powerless to prevent Fletcher completing his hat-trick from the spot.


Hibernian: Ma-Kalambay, Gathuessi, Hogg, Zarabi, Murray, Rankin, Morais (Chisholm 69), Beuzelin (Kerr 58), Shiels (O'Brien 75), Fletcher, Nish. Subs Not Used: McNeil, Zemmama, Benjelloun, Stevenson.

Booked: Morais.

Goals: Nish 10, Fletcher 19, 58, 90 pen.

Gretna: Fleming, Barr, Collin (Schultz-Eklund 69), Meynell (Deverdics 60), Naughton, Griffiths (McGill 60), Murray, Skelton, Buscher, Deuchar, Kissock. Subs Not Used: Krysiak, Baldacchino, Makinwa, Wilkinson.

Sent Off: Fleming (90).

Booked: Murray.

Goals: Skelton 81, Deuchar 88.

Att: 12,087

Ref: I Brynes (Scotland).



SEE ALSO
Gretna deserved a point - Irons
13 Feb 08 |  Gretna
Hibs boss critical of late slip
13 Feb 08 |  Hibernian


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