By: Hibernian Media on 03 Aug, 2019 18:10
A moment of magic from Scott Allan lit up Easter Road Stadium on the opening day of the new Ladbrokes Premiership season and ensured Hibernian claimed all three points from their match with St Mirren.
Allan’s stunner came five minutes from time on an afternoon when Hibernian were largely frustrated by Jim Goodwin’s men, despite dominating proceedings and creating numerous gilt-edged opportunities.
Hibernian hit the woodwork twice, had a goal disallowed for offside and were guilty of missing chances they should have converted.
Nevertheless, Head Coach Paul Heckingbottom will be delighted with the start his side have made to the new campaign.
Easter Road Stadium was bathed in sunshine as the teams took to the field before a large crowd for the opening fixture of the new Ladbrokes Premiership season.
The hosts were the first to threaten as Stevie Mallan collected a pass from Daryl Horgan before shooting just over the top from 20-yards.
St Mirren have received their fair share of criticism already this term for the Betfred Cup performances, however they had the bit between their teeth this afternoon as they looked to impress their large following.
In the 12th minute the impressive Ilkay Durmus used his blistering pace to evade the close attentions of Tom James before forcing a save from Ofir Marciano with an angled drive.
The Hibernian goalkeeper did well to get down quickly to not only save the effort but also to hold onto it with Tony Andreu loitering nearby ready to pounce on any mistakes.
Hibernian were playing some neat one-touch football however they were struggling to breakdown a St Mirren rearguard that were putting their bodies on the line time and again to block.
In fact, the visitors were creating the better opportunities and perhaps should have taken the lead in the 26th minute when Andreu threaded a defence splitting pass into the path of Paul McGinn leaving the defender clean through on goal.
The veteran full-back took too long to get his shot away and that allowed Paul Hanlon enough time to get back and block the eventual effort behind for a corner kick.
Durmus was St Mirren’s biggest threat and he showed clever footwork to evade Adam Jackson in the 31st minute before watching his net bound shot on the angle pushed round the post by Marciano.
At the other end Gary Mackenzie provided a last-gasp clearance to deny Florian Kamberi a first league goal of the new campaign as the defender slid in to divert Horgan’s low cross wide for a corner kick.
Hibernian were enjoying their best period of play as the game edged towards half time with Hanlon heading just wide and Mallan drawing a save from Vaclav Hladky.
The St Mirren goalkeeper then did well to beat away a powerful Whittaker strike on the angle as Hibernian continued to threaten.
The home side were on top however they were fortunate not to trail at the interval as Durmus found himself unmarked in the home box only blast the ball over the crossbar when he had time to pick it spot.
Just before half-time the home side were forced into their first change of the afternoon when James limped off to be replaced by Sean Mackie.
That meant a defensive reshuffle for Hibernian with Mackie slotting in at left back and Whittaker moving across to the right of the back four.
Paul Heckingbottom’s side made a positive start to the second period with Joe Newell’s delivery flashing across the face of goal as Sean McLoughlin and Hladky made a mess of clearing.
Hibernian had St Mirren penned back in the opening exchanges and almost scored when a wonderful lobbed effort from Allan beat Hladky only to come back off the far post.
The Buddies goal continued to live a fragile existence as a header from Newell came back off the same post one minute later and although Kamberi turned in the rebound the Swiss had strayed offside.
St Mirren weathered the storm and had opportunities on the counterattack through Tony Andreu and Kyle Magennis, with both forcing Marciano into saves.
Hibernian should have broken the deadlock in the 69th minute when Allan put Kamberi through on goal, however Hladky saved the striker’s weak effort and substitute Christian Doidge was unable to convert the rebound.
Chances continued to come thick and fast for the team in green with Kamberi and Mallan going close without seriously testing Hladky.
With 11 minutes remaining St Mirren missed a big opportunity to silence the vociferous home crowd as McLoughlin headed wide from point blank range following a corner kick.
That would prove a costly miss as Allan ran onto Doidge’s knock on to weave a path through the St Mirren defence before reversing a right foot shot beyond Hladky to claim a third goal of the campaign.
Two minutes later Doidge should have scored when Kamberi’s cross landed at the feet of the striker just in front of goal, however the pace of the ball was too much and the striker was unable to convert.
St Mirren mounted a late push with Ryan Flynn heading just off target and Jonathan Obika volleying over from close range as Hibernian held on to claim three points on the opening weekend of the new campaign.
Hibernian: Marciano, Whittaker, Hanlon, Vela (Doidge 64’), Horgan (Slivka 64’), Newell, Mallan, James (Mackie 45’), Jackson, Kamberi, Allan. Substitutes not used: Maxwell, McGregor, Shaw, Murray.
St Mirren: Hladky, McGinn, McLoughlin, Mackenzie, Magennis, Flynn, Andreu (Djorkaeff 73’), Durmus (Breadner 70’), Foley, Mullen (Obika 54’), Macpherson. Substitutes not used: Lyness, Baird, Erhahon, McAllister.
Referee: Euan Anderson.
Image: Alan Rennie.