KRIS Common’s first goal in nearly a year was worth the wait as his 88th minute howitzer sent Hibernian top of the Championship in a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Falkirk.

With a free-kick on the 18-yard line, the on-loan Celtic playmaker’s strike had to be about power rather than placement and he duly delivered with a thunderous effort that pierced a porous defensive wall and left goalkeeper Danny Rogers clutching at fresh air.

After missing a first-half sitter, Commons wheeled away joyously having been reacquainted with that goal-scoring feeling for the first time since netting for Celtic last January.

This result, coupled with title rivals Dundee United’s limp 1-0 loss at Dumbarton, left Hibs with a one-point lead at the Ladbrokes Championship summit.

They did it the hard way, too, after Jason Cummings, who was assisted by Commons, voided Craig Sibbald’s 15th-minute goal for the hosts.

There was further good news for the visitors post match when Lennon confirmed that the club have signed former Motherwell winger Chris Humphrey on a deal until the end of the season following his release at Preston North End.

“He was the only man I wanted on the free-kick,” said Lennon, who lauded a “big, big win”. “He’s got that power and quality and I don’t think Danny had a chance.

“I think it went through his arms at probably 80 miles per hour. To get it up and with that velocity is a skill in itself. It’s a relief for him to get off the mark, we know he is not a 100 per cent fit but he is a difference. Sometimes he see things and he’s got that quality.

“It was a hard-fought win and I think we deserved it on chances alone.”

Asked about Humphrey, Lennon replied: “I think that’s done and he should be in on Monday. It’s done until the end of the season and we’ll review it after that. He’s got pace and I think sometimes we miss that.”

Commons was smiling at the end but that was not the case in the 13th minute when he wasted a great chance. Grant Holt teed up the on loan player after racing to the ball before goalkeeper Rogers but Commons lashed a first-time shot over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

And football’s uncanny knack of making teams pay for wasted chances was played out when Falkirk went ahead two minutes later with a scrambled effort from Sibbald. Scott Shepherd’s low effort came back off the post from an Aaron Muirhead cross and Sibbald had an initial shot from point-blank range brilliantly saved by the prostrate Ross Laidlaw but the midfielder forced in the rebound in a congested box.

The home fans were still revelling in that breakthrough goal but Cummings brought his side level 90 seconds later. The marksman swept a first-time Commons cross into the corner of the net with his left foot from just inside the area.

Further chances came and went after the break and Falkirk were left lamenting Bob McHugh’s failure to find the net just seconds before Commons notched the decisive striker. The substitute raced past Paul Hanlon but fired wide with just Laidlaw to beat.

“We had Tom Tawio in the wall instead of Myles Hippolyte,” said Houston. “And I criticise my own players because if we had him in there and stayed big, it will smash off one of them and sometimes you’ve got to take one for the team.

“I felt it was cruel, I don’t think we deserved to lose the game.”

Falkirk: Rogers, Muirhead, Grant, Gasparotto, Gallacher, Taiwo, Kerr, Sibbald, Hippolyte, Baird (McHugh 67), Shepherd (Miller 74) Substitutes not used: Mehmet, Kidd, Leahy, Rankin, Craigen

Hibernian: Laidlaw, Gray, Hanlon, McGregor, Stevenson, Shinnie, Martin, McGeouch, Commons (Forster 90), Holt (Graham 84), Cummings (Boyle 74) Substitutes not used: Fontaine, Bartley, Keatings

Referee: Crawford Allan

Attendance: 6,747