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Hibs 2-3 St Mirren: Narrow Defeat For Butcher’s Boys

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A second half double from Irish striker James Collins was not enough for Hibernian to grab a share of the points against St Mirren at Easter Road today, after the Paisley outfit went in at half time with a three goal lead.

Hibs were forced into a defensive reshuffle due to Paul Hanlon suffering a thigh strain which meant that Alan Maybury came into the side at right back with Jordon Forster moving into the centre of defence alongside Michael Nelson.

Teenage striker Jason Cummings returned to the starting XI at the expense of Dubliner Paul Heffernan who had to be content with a place on the bench.

St Mirren elected to shoot toward their own supporters in the Dunbar end, and this tactic paid off although it was the home side who created an opening in the first minute when Collins found Liam Craig on the left wing and his low cross was intercepted by Marian Kello with Cummings waiting to pounce.

Three minutes later the visitors took the lead when  Paul McGowan’s shot crashed back off the inside of the post and struck Ben Williams on the back before trickling over the line.

Cummings went close with a header before Hibs were forced into a change when Ryan McGivern had to leave the field suffering a thigh strain. He was  replaced by Alex Harris and Lewis Stevenson moved to left back.

Hibs almost equalised when a Cummings effort took a huge deflection and looped over the head of Kello only to drop just wide of the post.

With Hibs pressing, the Buddies doubled their lead in the 23rd minute when Campbell and John McGinn combined with a fine one-two before the youngster slotted the ball into the far corner of the net.

Two minutes later added another when the dangerous Campbell sent in a cross which Steven Thompson headed into the net from close range.

McGowan then hit the crossbar with Williams once again beaten as the Hibs fans vented their anger at the performance of the players, and the team was booed off at the break.

Sam Stanton replaced Paul Cairney at half time then on 61 minutes, Hibs pulled one back when ex Swindon striker Collins bulleted in a header in from close range from an Alex Harris corner.

Hibs dominated possession, but had to wait until the 88th minute to add a second.

A Lewis Stevenson free kick found Michael Nelson and his knock down was nodded into the net by Collins.

Deep into time added on Hibs were denied a penalty kick when the ball struck the arm of Campbell however, referee Willie Collum waved away their appeals as St Mirren held on to take the three points.

After the game, an angry Terry Butcher said: “We were off the pace, didn’t stop them from playing; there were loads of things wrong first half.

“It was the most wretched 45 minutes I’ve seen from one of my teams, I must say. That was absolutely abysmal.

“At half time there were a few choice words and it was about getting a bit of pride back which I think we did in the second half, but you can’t give teams three goals of a start as we did and then hope to get something from the game which we nearly did.

“I’ve just seen the penalty (appeal) on the far side. It’s an unbelievable flick up. He could probably get a contract in a volleyball team doing things like that and Willie Collum’s got a great view of it as well but he doesn’t give it.

“I don’t know where that first half performance came from because that is not like us at all. Defensively we were a shambles and going forward we weren’t much better.

“There were a few players in the first half that said to me by their performances that ‘I’m not good enough, get someone else in.’ I can’t do that in January but I will in the summer, because that was not acceptable. That was awful.

“The youngsters were showing the older ones this is the way we should go by being a bit fearless and having a go.

“They were going to have Monday off but they are in Monday now and I’m going to work them hard. If they are going to give the ball away and defend as poorly as we did in the first half then they are going to have to work hard to get the ball back and that means extra fitness and extra work.”

Hibs: Williams, McGivern (Harris 8′), Nelson, Robertson, Craig, Cairney (Stanton 46′), Collins, Stevenson, Maybury, Forster, Cummings (Zoubir 76′).Substitutes not used: Murdoch, Tudur Jones, Heffernan.

St Mirren: Kello, Naismith, McAusland, Newton, Kelly, Campbell (Grainger 93′), MacGregor, McGinn, Thompson, McGowan (van Zanten 81′), Goodwin (Wylde 64′).Substitutes not used: Dilo, Reilly, Brady.

Referee: William Collum.

Photo by John Preece

http://www.photoboxgallery.com/jlp-photography

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