BRIAN COLVIN took charge of his final game as a referee at Easter Road yesterday. Talk about leaving a trail of destruction in your wake.

Seventeen years in the game, seven as a Category One official, and it all ends in absolute mayhem on an afternoon in which it is tempting to regard the pendulum as having swung in Hibs’ favour in this fascinating battle for the Ladbrokes Championship.

With Rangers having missed a late penalty in losing at Falkirk, the home side looked like squandering their big opportunity to draw level on points at the top of the table when Queen of the South midfielder Kyle Hutton went down on the edge of his own area having been struck in the face by the ball.

Colvin stopped play as the Dumfries side attempted to break upfield and appeared, rather than call for a conventional drop-ball restart, to roll the ball straight to the Hibs centre-back Liam Fontaine.

With Hutton not being allowed back onto the park for one reason or another, Fontaine then sparked off a move – three-and-a-half minutes into stoppage-time – which ended with David Gray firing a great cross into the danger area from the right and substitute Dominique Malonga sending a downward header into the roof of the net.

Colvin was surrounded by blue shirts as he tried to get the game back underway and lost control of things completely at time-up. The Queen of the South assistant manager, Gavin Skelton had to be held back when confronting him and actually appeared to place a hand on him as they left the park.

Lewis Kidd squared up to Malonga, with talk of blows being traded, while Alan Stubbs, the Hibs manager, had to intervene on the touchline with visiting striker Derek Lyle first becoming involved in a row with supporters and then appearing to be heading down the tunnel for a barney with someone from the home dug-out.

Stubbs put it down to “testosterone”. His opposite number, James Fowler, put it down to Colvin.

“Kyle Hutton gets a knock on the face and does not want to come off,” he said. “The ref goes to restart play and, having seen it back, it looks like he rolls the ball into Liam Fontaine's path.

“That can happen if you've had possession before, but Mark Millar is chasing Fraser Fyvie into the corner and got him under pressure.

“The referee’s in control of that situation, the way it restarts. He drops it Fontaine's path. I think he said Mark Millar was timewasting, but he surely stops the watch and there is no time to be wasted.

“Mark is taken out the game and we can't get Kyle back on for the restart. I don’t know why because the linesman was on the halfway line and Kyle was fine. Even if it wasn’t instant, he should be waved back on.

“The referee said he couldn’t hear, but that is not a great excuse when they have communications.

“I think it was his last game today as well. He told me that at half-time, so that’s a good way for him to go. I can maybe give him stick and say he’ll never referee us again.”

Fontaine admits he can understand why Queens were so angry, but insists that he had no option but to get the ball forward at Colvin’s invitation.

“One of their lads was dillydallying on the ball, mucking around and trying to keep it away from us,” said Fontaine. “The ref got the ball, dropped it and told us to play on.

“I reacted, their player didn’t and we played on.

“You can understand why they are unhappy, but their player was on the park and heard the ref say he was going to drop the ball.”

Stubbs admitted a few of his players had an off-day and he was right. Hibs lacked quality and incisiveness throughout, with James Keatings, Jason Cummings and Martin Boyle all failing to capitalise on genuine openings in the first half.

Stubbs brought on Malonga for Cummings and Henri Anier for Boyle on 67 minutes. It paid off with Anier giving Gray the ball on the flank for the winner and Malonga providing the finish.

Next stop Ibrox. It is anyone’s guess what merry hell may break out there.