Hibernian match preview

Match Preview
Ayr United vs. Hibernian
Ladbrokes Championship
Saturday 29th April 2017

On Saturday, Ayr United play their penultimate match of the Championship season as a four-team battle against relegation looks set to go down to the wire.

Ian McCall could not have picked harder opponents as champions Hibernian make the trip to Somerset Park, however, the Honest Men have held their own against Hibs this season, taking four points from three games. Despite wrapping up the league title before exiting the Scottish Cup, Neil Lennon’s side showed they are in no mood to down tools on Wednesday night when a last minute James Keatings free-kick earned the Hibees a 3-2 victory over Raith Rovers – a goal which could have great significance at the foot of the table.

The Kirkcaldy club travel to the Paisley 2021 Stadium on Saturday to face St. Mirren knowing a win will secure their Championship safety ahead of Ayr’s trip to Stark’s Park next weekend. The in-form Buddies, however, will be looking to put points on the board ahead of them facing Hibs at Easter Road on the final day of the season.

Two wins for Honest Men will offer Ian McCall’s side the lifeline of the play-offs – at worse – with an eighth or even seventh place finish still possible depending on other results. Ayr can’t be relegated this weekend but an inferior goal difference means tenth place would be all but certain, unless Raith were to beat St. Mirren in Paisley. Dumbarton are also not safe yet and they face Dundee United and Falkirk in their final two matches.

Hibernian wrapped up the league title with a 3-0 win over Queen of the South a fortnight ago and were in the Scottish Cup semi-final last weekend, narrowly losing 3-2 to Aberdeen despite conceding after just 12 seconds at Hampden. The Leith club are unbeaten in their last 8 Championship fixtures, winning four and drawing four.

Team News: Robbie Crawford is out injured however everyone else is fit and available.

Ian McCall says: “In our last two matches we have played two of the top four and taken two points however looking at both games that is the very least we should have taken so we know we can compete with the better teams. There are so many scenarios that can play out now but we are only focused on Saturdays game and getting a result for ourselves. We know what getting a win here could mean for our season. Training has been great this week, everyone obviously got a wee boost from Wednesdays result and we have absolutely everything to play for.”

Head-to-Head:
Ayr United wins – 28
Draws – 20
Hibernian wins – 53

Hibs are unbeaten on their last five visits to Somerset Park on league duty, stretching back to April 1978.

Last Meeting: Saturday is the fifth meeting between the clubs this season and the second at Somerset Park. There has yet to be a home win in the three Championship match ups so far, with United taking four points from two visits to Easter Road and Hibernian recording a 3-0 win in Ayrshire in November.

The last meeting between the two sides came in the Scottish Cup in the capital last month and saw Neil Lennon’s side rush to a two-goal lead through John McGinn and Jason Cummings. Craig McGuffie pulled one back before half-time with a spectacular strike into the top corner but, after Scott McKenna was sent off for the Honest Men, the cup holders went on to win 3-1, James Keatings adding a goal in the second-half.

On this day: in 1989, Ayr United defeated St. Johnstone 1-0 in the last game ever played at Muirton Park.

Match Officials:
Referee – Stephen Finnie
Assistant Referee 1 – Gary Hilland
Assistant Referee 2 – Mark McHendry

Admission: £17 adults, £10 concessions, £5 under 16s

Hibernian tickets are available now from our club shop until kick off tomorrow.

Away turnstiles:
• Stand – 9 & 10
• Terracing – 2, 3 & 5

Home Supporters in the stand must enter through gates 11, 12 or 13.

We look forward to welcoming all fans to Somerset Park. Your support is vital. However, we all need to be able to enjoy watching games in a safe and considerate environment. We ask that you support the players and team without resorting to unacceptable behaviour that can lead to the Club and individuals facing charges.

Like all Scottish grounds, Ayr United have a searching policy as a condition of entry.
Possessing or using any pyro device and anyone detected will be liable to prosecution and a lifetime ban from Somerset Park.

Copies of our Unacceptable Conduct Policy can be found around the stadium, Match programme and on our website. http://www.ayrunitedfc.co.uk/unacceptable-conduct-policy/

Thank you
Enjoy the game