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Hibs remain top of the Championship despite losing to Dundee United in a hard fought encounter at Tannadice last night.

Head Coach Neil Lennon made three changes to his starting XI with Marvin Bartley, Dylan McGeouch and Grant Holt replacing John McGinn, Fraser Fyvie and Brian Graham.

Andrew Shinnie and  Liam Fontaine had chances for the visitors whilst Tony Andreu went close on two occasions for United as play raged from end to end.

Just before the break Darren McGregor produced a fantastic block to prevent Scott Fraser’s close range effort and the ball deflected over the bar.

Ofir Marciano then did well to save a Charlie Telfer’s half volley from just outside the area but moments later Hibs had the chance to pen the scoring then Lewis Lewis Toshney brought down Martin Boyle inside the box.

Referee Bobby Madden had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Boyle elected to take the kick against Cammy Bell who earlier in the season saved an incredible three penalties in United’s 3-1 victory over Dunfermline.

Boyle’s effort was a tame one however and once again Bell was the hero, diving to his right and pushing the ball to safety.

Holt appeared angry that he hadn’t been allowed to take the penalty an immediately get involved in a tangle with Willo Flood which resulted in bookings for both players.

Shinnie almost opened the scoring with a front post flick after a David Gray cross from the right but Bell produced another fine save.

Jason Cummings replaced Boyle before United eventually broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute when substitute Simon Murray was barged over by Fontaine inside the penalty area and referee Bobby Madden awarded his second spot kick of the evening.

Andreu  made no mistake sending Marciano the wrong way to the delight of the home supporters.

Lennon sent on Graham in place of Bartley as Hibs pressed for an equaliser and Cummings fired in a powerful shot from Graham’s knockdown but Bell was well positioned to save.

The clubs are now level on points with Hibs having the better goal difference and both are eight points clear of third placed Morton.

Hibs face Dumbarton at Easter Road next Saturday whilst United travel to Ayr.

After the game Lennon told BBC Scotland: “The result is disappointing. I didn’t think we played as well as could first half but I thought we were very good second half and the game hinged on two moments.

“If we score our penalty, we go on to win the game as we defended pretty well.

“Martin (Boyle) was always the designated penalty-taker. Holty missed the last one and Martin was down for the Queen of the South game and I put the instruction on for him to take it. He normally hits them well but he didn’t hit it cleanly and it was a poor penalty.

“We’ll go back to work over the weekend and see if we can bring some players in as we are a little bit depleted at the minute.”

Dundee United: Bell, Durnan, Toshney, Spittal (Murdoch, 82), Fraser, Telfer, Edjenguele, Flood, Andreu (Smith, 90), Van der Velden (Murray, 67), Robson

Substitutes not used: Zwick, Dillon, Donaldson, Obadeyi

Hibs: Marciano, Gray, Hanlon, Fontaine (Eardley,89), McGregor, Stevenson, Bartley (Graham, 82), McGeouch, Shinnie, Holt, Boyle (Cummings, 64).

Substitutes not used: Laidlaw, Forster, Crane, Martin

Referee: Bobby Madden

Attendance: 10,925