Hibs fail to break Molde at Easter Road
Hibernian 0 Molde 0
Hibernian began life without John McGinn with a 0-0 Europa League draw against Molde at Easter Road.
Stevie Mallan almost took on the mantle of Hibernian's midfield lynchpin with an impressive first-half display but he was denied by the crossbar and some decent saves.
Martin Boyle and David Gray also came close for Neil Lennon's side but the visitors were largely comfortable in the final half hour as Hibs seemed to become more wary of the consequences of losing an away goal.
In the end they will travel to Norway for the second leg next week very much in the frame for a play-off spot after keeping a second clean sheet in succession.
Hibs had netted 22 goals in their previous five games at Easter Road and they started with intent. Mallan crashed a looping shot off the bar from more than 25 yards, Vykintas Slivka forced a save from long range and Boyle was winning the ball in dangerous areas as Molde tried to build from the back.
The visitors settled and Paul Hanlon made an important interception after a piercing Molde move but Mallan continued to look the most dangerous player on the park, forcing visiting goalkeeper Andreas Linde to scramble two more long-range strikes past his post before the break.
The hosts began creating chances further in just before the hour mark. Boyle stabbed Slivka's incisive pass just wide before Gray came close to scoring.
The visitors had a chance from a corner themselves when a delivery fell for the unchallenged Babacar Sarr five yards out - but his header bounced harmlessly into Ross Laidlaw's hands.