Hibs go into next week’s Scottish Cup Final against Celtic on the back of three straight victories after substitute David Wotherspoon headed a sensational winner with 12 minutes left against relegated Dundee at Easter Road.
Pat Fenlon made no fewer than seven changes to the team that beat Kilmarnock 3-1 in midweek, including man of the moment Leigh Griffiths and keeper Ben Williams.
James McPake and Tim Clancy missed the game due to injury, but Fenlon hopes both will be available for the final.
The game went ahead after a late pitch inspection following a downpour of rain during the morning.
Both sets of fans were in good voice, celebrating the possible demise of Hearts which could see Dundee retain their SPL status, and the Dundee supporters continually cheered former player Leigh Griffiths who was clearly a favourite with them.
Griffiths was the first to strike with a first time volley from the edge of the box which went narrowly wide before Ross Caldwell found Alex Harris who quickly slipped it through the legs of Kyle Benedictus before bursting into the penalty area only for Declan Gallagher to slide in and clear the ball for a corner.
Griffiths sent in a dangerous corner kick which Jordon Forster headed over as Hibs dominated possession.
Simonsen then did well to block a Griffiths’ effort, then Gallagher appeared to block his follow up shot with his arm, but the referee waved play on.
Dundee, who had failed to create a chance in the first half, started the second period brightly and should have done better when Lewis Toshney robbed Ryan McGivern of possession before attempting a one-two with John Baird, but Forster read the danger and slid in to clear the danger.
Hibs soon retained their domination and both Caldwell and Griffiths went close before a terrific run from Harris sliced open the Dundee defence. The youngster found Lewis Stevenson with an inch perfect pass, but the midfielder hammered the ball over the bar from 15 yards.
Dundee introduced Ryan Conroy for Mark Kerr and he almost made an immediate impact with a well hit volley which went inches past the post.
Hibs eventually grabbed the lead in the 78th minute when McGivern found Stevenson on the left wing. Stevenson then sent a dangerous cross into the box which David Wotherspoon met perfectly from 15 yards and headed the ball powerfully into the corner of the net.
After the game a delighted Pat Fenlon said: “We can just focus on the cup final now completely between now and next weekend and make sure we’re prepared. We’re definitely going into it with a lot of confidence. We’re playing well and looking forward to it.”
“I saw the conditions and had a little worry alright but anything can happen in training or games. We asked them to keep it going and make sure we finished in that seventh spot. There was some great football played, some really good passing, crosses into the box and chances. Just a pity we didn’t score a couple more.”
“The team’s been playing well over the last few weeks which gives me a bit of a headache, but I’d rather have that than not have enough players going into it. When you get to a cup final there are always big decisions to make.The one thing we didn’t do last year was perform and that’s something we need to make sure, that we give our supporters a performance.”
Hibs: Williams, McGivern, Hanlon, Claros, Griffiths (Doyle 72′), Stevenson, Maybury, Taiwo (Robertson 82′), Caldwell, Harris (Wotherspoon 74′), Forster. Substitutes not used: Murdoch, Deegan, Done, Handling.
Dundee: Simonsen, Irvine, Lockwood, McBride, J. Baird, Benedictus, Gallagher (Finnigan 72′), McAlister, Toshney (Riley 62′), M. Kerr (Conroy 56′), Harkins. Substitutes not used: A. Baird, Conroy, Stewart, Nish, C. Kerr.
Referee: Brian Colvin.