Hibs end winless run with hard-fought 2-1 victory over St Johnstone in Perth

Jamie Murphy celebrates his winner with Josh CampbellJamie Murphy celebrates his winner with Josh Campbell
Jamie Murphy celebrates his winner with Josh Campbell
Hibs finally ended their winless run of Scottish Premiership games with a hard-fought victory against ten-man St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

Liam Gordon opened the scoring for Saints four minutes before half-time but Craig Bryson saw red on the stroke of half-time and two goals in the final ten minutes by Kevin Nisbet and substitute Jamie Murphy saw the Capital club return to winning ways.

Josh Doig got the first sight of goal for Jack Ross’ sid but although his shot was powerful enough it sailed wide of Zander Clark’s left-hand post. Hibs did have the ball in the back of the net in the early stages, Nisbet’s finish ruled out by the assistant referee’s flag, but it looked extremely tight.

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Jamie Gullan, restored to the starting line-up for the first time since the 1-0 defeat by Aberdeen at Pittodrie a month ago, shot narrowly over moments after the offside goal before Josh Campbell had a couple of long-range efforts but nothing to really cause Clark any concern.

Jamie Gullan has a shot on goal in the first halfJamie Gullan has a shot on goal in the first half
Jamie Gullan has a shot on goal in the first half

The hosts’ first sight of goal came nearly 25 minutes in, Michael O’Halloran sending a low shot just wide. Bryson was then cautioned for catching Ryan Porteous, who went close with an overhead kick as the visitors pushed for the opener.

Gullan had another half-chance as he stretched for Campbell’s low cross ten minutes before the interval but couldn’t connect.

Four minutes before half-time St Johnstone took the lead somewhat against the run of play. Ali Crawford’s corner was cleared back to him and the former Hamilton midfielder delivered the ball back into the box and Gordon’s header looked to take a touch off Porteous before nestling in the back of the net.

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Hibs were nearly level seconds later, Campbell’s header coming back off the post before Bryson was given his marching orders for a second booking following a late one on Joe Newell.

Saints boss Callum Davidson reacted by introducing Cammy MacPherson at the start of the second half for Eetu Vertainen while Hibs, buoyed by the sending-off, set up camp in the opposition penalty area.

Nisbet had a couple of sights of goal before Cadden smacked the crossbar with Hanlon unable to connect with the rebound.

Hibs had the ball in the net for a second time on the hour mark but again it was chalked off with referee Euan Anderson spotting a foul in the build-up.

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Murphy, on for Paul McGinn, had a glorious opportunity to level on 68 minutes after Nisbet flicked on Porteous’ long ball forward but Clark pulled off a fine save to deny the winger and maintain Saints’ advantage – for the time being.

With time running out, Nisbet ended his drought at the third time of asking, stroking the ball past Clark after some expert build-up play involving Scott Allan, Campbell, and Murphy.

Murphy nearly made it two moments later but dragged his shot wide despite having time and space around the penalty spot.

Hibs continued to probe and Allan was the architect once again as his pass picked out Murphy at the back post to slam home the winner and earn that long-awaited league win.

St Johnstone: Clark, Gordon, McCart, Rooney (Brown 75), Booth, Davidson (Solomon-Otabor 87), Bryson, O’Halloran, Vertainen (MacPherson 45), Crawford, Dendoncker. Subs not used: Parish, Ambrose, Devine, Craig.

Hibs: Macey, McGinn (Murphy 61), Porteous, Hanlon, Doig, Newell, Doyle-Hayes (Scott 77), Campbell, Cadden, Gullan (Allan 70), Nisbet. Subs not used: Dabrowski, Wright, Gogic, Stevenson.

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