Hibs boss Paul Heckingbottom has revealed he is on the trail of American defender Jonathan Spector as he seeks to beef up his defence.
The 32-year-old was at McDiarmid Park to watch the Easter Road side come from behind to beat St Johnstone and move three points clear of the Perth outfit in sixth place in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
Heckingbottom, who only has Darren McGregor and Paul Hanlon in central defence, admitted he was “light” in that department and Spector, capped 36 times but a free agent after leaving MLS side Orlando City, could provide the cover he needs. After watching his team win for the third time in a row since he took over as head coach, Heckingbottom said: “He is unattached; [he] could prove useful for us so he’s having a look at us and we are having a look at him.
“It would be foolish not to look at him as in we do all the hard work now and something happens so we cover all bases. He is someone with a good pedigree, a good lad, so we will see what happens. It’s a possibility.”
Heckingbottom admitted he was delighted to see his side, a man down after Vykintas Slivka was sent off having picked up two second-half bookings, take all three points against Saints for the first time since Hibs returned to the top flight.
Down to a Chris Kane goal at half-time, Hibs were second best for the first hour but a controversial penalty given by referee Gavin Duncan when Saints skipper Liam Craig challenged Flo Kamberi handed them the chance to get level.
Marc McNulty did that, hammering the ball home from the spot before claiming his sixth goal in just four outings for the Capital side to clinch the win.
Heckingbottom, who admitted he was about to take Slivka off only seconds before he was sent off, said: “The most pleasing bit was the character we showed when we went down to ten men.
“This was a different kind of win but you have to show that if you’re going to get the consistency we’re looking for.
“We have said that the more points we get now the easier it will be towards the end. We have dealt a blow to one of our rivals, so of course it’s significant but there are plenty more points to play for.
“We were not at our best in the first half but I felt we improved after that. We didn’t keep the ball well enough in the first half and gave it away cheaply, so we knew we had to change that.
“When we got a man sent off – and we talked about taking him off seconds before it happened – we had to show character and that’s what pleased me.
“I kept two strikers on because I have talked a lot about centre forwards being key for me.
“They had to do so much work in and out of possession, so they did defensive work when we didn’t have it.
“There’s nothing worse than sitting back soaking up pressure, it’s not enjoyable but the momentum had shifted after the red card so I was comfortable we knew our jobs well enough to play with ten men.”
Saints boss Tommy Wright was furious with the penalty decision, accusing Kamberi of having “conned the referee”.
He said: “We should have won but we found a way to lose the game, Cammy Bell didn’t have a save to make. We should have gone in 2-0 up at half-time. We weren’t under any pressure then the referee has got conned for the penalty.
“It’s not a penalty. I do not blame the referee but you have to be embarrassed, I’m not sure what type of striker he [Kamberi] is but he has conned the referee.
“It’s simple, he has looked as if he has been hit by a 40-foot truck.”