If a week is a long time in football then Lee Johnson has an eternity to stew on a result which piled further pressure on the Hibs manager in the final match before the extended World Cup break.

Defeat at Kilmarnock made it just one win in seven for the Easter Road boss and owner Ron Gordon has shown in his brief time at the helm he’s not afraid to pull the trigger. Well, he’s American after all.

After a first half which saw two teams low on confidence prod tentatively at each other, both scared to take the swing that could bring a knockout counter-punch, Daniel Armstrong’s penalty gave the home side something to cling to.

Derek McInnes made six changes to the team that was battered by Dundee United in midweek, with goalkeeper Zach Hemming dropped and Jeriel Dorsett making his first appearance since September in the back three.

The first real opportunity of the game came as Rory McKenzie, playing an interesting hybrid position on the left, misjudged the flight of the ball on the left, allowing Chris Cadden to scamper free. The former Motherwell sent in a low, inviting cross but Mykola Kukharevych couldn’t quite stretch to turn it home at the far post.

Hibs thought they had the lead after 25 minutes when the Ukrainian did manage to connect with Elias Melkersen’s delivery, but the Norwegian had been offside in the build-up.

Lewis Mayo had his team-mates to thank for sparing his blushes shortly after the break, the Rangers loanee giving the ball away on the edge of his own box and allowing Melkersen a shot at goal that was blocked. From the corner Paul Hanlon found himself in an Ayrshire dairy field of space but didn’t connect properly with a glancing header.

He’d be left to rue that miss as Killie took the leads minutes later – with that time span augmented by a lengthy VAR check. Liam Polworth did well to keep a move alive after a McKenzie shot was blocked, with the midfielder bundled over for a free-kick near the touchline.

The Herald: David Dickinson points to the spotDavid Dickinson points to the spot (Image: SNS)

The hosts spotted the ball but referee David Dickinson stood for what felt like an eternity with his finger to his earpiece before pointing to the spot. Armstrong, rewarded for his good form with a new contract in midweek, stepped up to send David Marshall the wrong way.

Hibs responded with a double change, Ewan Henderson entering the field alongside Harry McKirdy, the latter sporting a haircut which suggested he’s the bassist in Leith’s hottest new pop-punk band.

The game became more stretched as the visitors pushed for an equaliser, Melkersen sending an overhead kick over the crossbar after Cameron had missed the chance to play in McKenzie at the other end.

It was aerial bombardment which looked the biggest threat to the Killie lead, the defence and goalkeeper looking increasingly perturbed under a barrage of crosses, and it was no surprise when McInnes sent the robust presences of Chris Stokes and Ash Taylor into the fray.

Some haphazard defending allowed Henderson space to shoot from inside the box but the Hibs substitute skewed wildly into the Chadwick Stand, attracting howls of derision from the home fans.

McKirdy had a stoppage time effort after cutting in on his right foot but the blast from the mohican sailed over Sam Walker's crossbar.

Killie looked scrappy and nervous as they fought for the win that would move them off the bottom of the table, but they held on and it’s Johnson who faces a long, bleak winter with no chance to set things right.