Lee Clark’s men looked sharper and hungrier than their higher-ranked opponents, regularly hassling and harrying Steve Bruce’s side into mistakes. Goals in either half from the new attacking duo did the damage with a late penalty conversion from Tigers sub Sone Aluko proving a mere consolation.
Blues took the lead on 12 minutes when Green lost his marker in the area to head home unopposed from an inswinging Shane Ferguson corner. In this battle of two 3-5-2 formations, much of the game was perhaps unsurprisingly played out in the middle third of the pitch but it was Blues that kept far better possession of the ball.
Darren Randolph was called into action for the first time with a routine save down to his left from Robbie Brady’s 25-yard free-kick. Brady went closest to levelling again but his near-post header from Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross veered wide of the target,
The home side doubled their advantage just two minutes after the interval and it owed much to the persistence and work ethic of new boy Scott Allan. The loanee from West Brom robbed the ball off James Chester’s toes inside the area before teeing up Shinnie for a simple tap-in.
Only a last-ditch challenge prevented Shinnie from doubling his tally off Green’s assist. And the Scotland international took advantage of another misdirected pass from the visitors to bear down on goal soon afterwards but his low shot drifted narrowly wide of the far post.
Randolph was a spectator for most of the afternoon but he was alert when required as he pulled off an instinctive reaction save to beat away Paul McShane’s overhead kick. However, the former Motherwell man was picking the ball out of his own net just seconds later. The referee deemed a full-blooded tackle from Paul Robinson, which saw him dispossess sub Aluko inside the area, to be dangerous despite the captain clearly taking the ball. The former Blues trainee dusted himself down to reduce the arrears with 15 minutes left on the clock.
Blues were indebted to another terrific late save from Randolph to ensure the victory, as he dived to his left to parry away Hull sub Nick Proschwitz’s shot from 15 yards. But the hosts’ performance offers great encouragement ahead of next weekend’s big kick-off against Watford when the real ball comes out.
Darren Randolph; Hayden Mullins, Dan Burn, Paul Robinson; Neal Eardley (Mitch Hancox 60), Tom Adeyemi (Koby Arthur 60), Scott Allan (Wade Elliott 60), Callum Reilly (Reece Brown 85), Shane Ferguson; Andrew Shinnie (Chris Burke 71), Matt Green.
Subs (not used): Colin Doyle, Olly Lee, Ryan Higgins.
Goals: Green (12), Shinnie (47)
Allan McGregor; James Chester, Curtis Davies (Joe Dudgeon 60), Maynor Figueroa (Paul McShane h/t); Ahmed Elmohamady (Alex Bruce 69), Robert Koren (David Meyler h/t), Stephen Quinn (Sone Aluko h/t), Tom Cairney, George Boyd (Matty Fryatt 60); Robbie Brady, Danny Graham (Nick Proschwitz 60).
Subs (not used): Steve Harper, Sone Aluko, Eldin Jakupovic.
Goal: Aluko (75)
5,252 (156 away fans)