Hibs Finish Season In Bottom Six After Dismal Day In Perth


Hibs’ hopes of a top six finish vanished yesterday with a two goal defeat to St Johnstone in Perth.

As promised, manager Terry Butcher made several changes to his starting line up following last weekend’s defeat against Partick Thistle.

Goalkeeper Ben Williams missed the game to attend the birth of his child, whilst Duncan Watmore and Paul Hanlon both dropped out through injury.

Sean Murdoch came in for only his second start for the club, whilst Arsenal loanee Daniel Boateng made his full debut as Liam Craig, Kevin Thomson, Paul Heffernan and Daniel Haynes returned to first team action.

Hibs started the game brightly and almost opened the scoring in the 6th minute when Jordon Forster headed just past the post from Craig’s cross.

Three minutes later, Fraser Wright almost scored an embarrassing own goal when he intercepted a cross from McGivern only to direct the ball high into the air almost catching out Alan Mannus who produced a sensational fingertip save to divert the ball wide.

From the resultant corner kick Boateng headed down for Heffernan whose shot was charged down.

Hibs continued to dominate possession and Haynes went close with an angled drive that flew across the face of goal and just wide of the far post.

Stevie May almost gave Saints the lead when he latched onto former Hibs’ star David Wotherspoon’s inch perfect cross but Murdoch produced a fine stop,

From the resultant corner kick however, McLean bundled the ball over the line following Wotherspoon’s delivery and celebrated in front of the Hibs travelling support.

McLean then missed a glorious chance to add a second after Wotherspoon’s header found him unmarked two yards from goal but his strike flew over the bar with the goalkeeper beaten.

Heffernan and Stanton both had efforts blocked before Michael Nelson headed Craig’s corner kick over as Hibs pushed for a leveller.

Murdoch then produced a fantastic save to deny Wotherspoon’s close range diving header and St Johnstone went in one goal to the good at the break.

The Saints started the second half where they left off and Murdoch was soon called into action to prevent May doubling their advantage.

This only delayed the inevitable and the Perth side added a second when McGivern diverted James Dunne’s cross into his own net.

Moments later, Hibs’ hopes of a comeback were dashed when Haynes was shown a red card one following a reckless challenge on Wotherspoon.

St Johnstone took advantage of the extra man and Murdoch produced several fine saves to keep the deficit at two goals,

St Johnstone: Mannus, Mackay, Wright, Anderson, McDonald, Wotherspoon (Croft 84′), Dunne (Millar 73′), May, Miller, O’Halloran. Substitutes not used: Banks, Cregg, Hasselbaink, Clancy, Iwelumo.

Hibernian: Murdoch, McGivern, Nelson, Craig, Boateng, Taiwo (Handling 66′), Forster, Heffernan, Stanton (Stevenson 82′), Haynes, Thomson (Cairney 73′).Substitutes not used: Grant, Collins, Maybury, Cummings.

Referee: Steven McLean.

Attendance: 3,553

Photo by John Preece


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