Saints 1-2 Hibs

Saints looked to bounce back from their defeat to Aberdeen on Saturday with a midweek win over top six rivals Hibernian.

The Perth side were unbeaten against Hibs this season, and Tony Watt, who scored last time the Leith club were in the Fair City, was back in the starting eleven, at the expense of Sean Goss.

Saints were yet to pick up a win in February, and Saints started brightly.

Wotherspoon was brought down in the box after four minutes but referee Duncan only pointed for a corner. From the delivery, Watt’s half volley was blocked by the visiting back line.

And Saints took the lead on 14 minutes through Chris Kane. The striker has been on super form for Saints over the past few games and had just been missing a goal, but after his tenacity won Saints a corner, the number nine pounced on the loose ball in the box showing great striker’s instinct to net his first of the season. 1-0

Saints were playing a high tempo game and a Spoony cross was half cleared, with Kennedy’s dangerous follow up sent behind for a corner.

Hibs’ first real chance came on the half hour mark as McNulty latched onto a long ball, but blasted his strike into the Ormond Stand.

Kane came within inches of doubling his tally for the season after a superb counter attack, starting with Tanser and Wotherspoon culminated in Kennedy playing through the hitman, but his effort rippled the side netting.

Former Saint Paul Hanlon was booked for bringing down the striker just before half time as he tormented the Hibs defence.

The teams went in at the break with Kane’s goal separating the sides, and Tommy would be looking for more of the same in the second half.

Hibs started the second half on the front foot and Joe Shaughnessy made a great point blank block to deny McNulty within a minute of the restart.

But a better chance came to Saints as they quickly turned the pressure back on, and Tanser’s cross was put wide via a Kennedy diving header.

An early caution was issued to Slivka for simulation on the edge of the Saints box.

Cammy Bell spilled a second delivery from a Hibs corner, but Scott Tanser rescued Saints by scooping the loose ball off the line.

Hibs first switch was to bring on Omeonga for Mallan just after the hour mark.

But the Perth side continued to mount the pressure and Chris Kane volleyed wide after good link up play with Spoony.

Hibs were awarded a dubious penalty after Kamberi went down on the touchline. After much protesting, McNulty converted with aplomb.

But Hibs subsequently went down to ten as Slivka saw yellow for the second time, slicing Watt as the striker charged at goal.

Jason Kerr’s header from a corner shortly after found the roof of the net as Saints looked to restore their lead.

Hibs’ second switch saw Horgan swapped for Bartley.

Saints first change came on 76 minutes as the impressive Wotherspoon made way for Blair Alston.

Five minutes later, Swanson replaced Kennedy as Saints sought a late winner.

Saints were caught sleeping at the back and McNulty netted with a composed finish to take the lead.

Tommy Wright’s side were looking to level the scores against the ten men after play resumed, and Callum Hendry replaced Richard Foster in a bid for a late leveller.

Five minutes of injury time were indicated, and Joe Shaughnessy’s long throw was headed into Marciano’s arms by Jason Kerr.

Saints were awarded a late corner after persistent play from subs Alston and Swanson, which was knocked behind for another.

The cleared effort broke to Tanser, who’s strike found a tangle of bodies and Jason Kerr’s follow up was parried behind.

A hand ball shout at subsequent corner was waved away and despite a late flurry, there was no equaliser. Full time: St Johnstone 1-2 Hibernian.

Saints: Bell, Foster (Hendry, 85), Shaughnessy, Kerr, Tanser, Wotherspoon (Alston, 76), Craig, Davidson, Kennedy (Swanson, 81), Kane, Watt. Unused subs: Hurst, Gordon, Goss, Callachan.

Goals: Kane (14)

Hibs: Marciano, Gray, McGregor, Hanson, Stevenson, Milligan, Mallan (Omeonga, 61), Slivka, Horgan (Bartley, 69), Kamberi, McNulty (Mackie, 88). Unused subs: Dabrowski, Bartley, Allan, Bigirimana, Shaw.

Goals: McNulty (65, 84) Booked: Hanlon, Slivka (x2) Kamberi Red: Slivka

Attendance: 4136 Referee: Gavin Duncan Man of the Match: Chris Kane

Match report by Ross Gardiner