By: Hibernian Media on 09 Nov, 2019 18:20
Christian Doidge was Hibernian’s hat-trick hero on an afternoon when Hibernian thumped hosts St Johnstone 4-1 with a ruthless display in Perth.
Hibernian turned on the style with a brilliant performance to earn their first league victory since the opening day of the campaign.
Deadly Doidge claimed the match ball with a clinical performance in attack as the Edinburgh men notched their biggest margin of victory in Perth for 19 years.
Scott Allan grabbed Hibs' other effort as the Leith men put the Saints to the sword, whilst Stevie May notched a consolation for the hosts in the dying embers of the match.
Interim Head Coach Eddie May made five changes to the side defeated by Celtic last weekend in the Betfred Cup semi-final.
Jason Naismith and Ryan Porteous replaced Tom James and Adam Jackson in defence, where they lined up alongside Paul Hanlon and Lewis Stevenson.
Joe Newell, Vykintas Slivka and Florian Kamberi all returned to the starting XI at the expense of Daryl Horgan, Stevie Mallan and Josh Vela.
The viitors enjoyed a perfect start and Kamberi was heavily involved as he drove into the St Johnstone penalty box before picking out Doidge, who scored at the second attempt after Zander Clark had save his initial effort.
It was Doidge’s first league goal of the season – his fourth in all competitions – and a timely confidence booster for both the player and a Hibernian side aiming for their first Premiership victory since the opening day of the campaign.
Buoyed by their start, Hibernian continued to press a shaky looking St Johnstone defence and the visitors almost grabbed a quickfire second goal when Newell’s curling effort crashed back in to play off the base of the post with Clark once again beaten.
The Easter Road side were playing with a confidence rarely seen in recent weeks and were penning St Johnstone back in the opening exchanges.
In the 11th minute a cross from the left was knocked down by Slivka into the path of Scott Allan.
He in turn fed Naismith, who was inches away with a rising left-foot effort from the edge of the box that was just too high.
A second Hibernian goal was coming, and it duly arrived six minutes later when Kamberi again picked out Doidge with a driven low cross and the Welsh striker finished clinically, getting in ahead of Wallace Duffy at the near post to give Clark no chance.
St Johnstone, who hadn’t been an attacking threat until then, started to carve out opportunities themselves and Chris Maxwell had to turn a hopeful lob from Ali McCann over the crossbar.
From the corner kick David Wotherspoon’s delivery from the right found the head of Jason Kerr at the back post, however, under pressure from Porteous, he could only head wide of the target.
On 26 minutes a good run from Scott Tanser saw the Saints man peel off the left flank onto his right foot and Maxwell had to be alert to make the save at his far post.
Hibernian were soon on the attack once again and had Naismith’s cross not taken a nick off Tanser then Doidge – sliding in – would have claimed his hat-trick.
At the other end May flicked Matty Kennedy’s cross toward goal with the outside of his boot, however it finished harmlessly off target.
Tommy Wright replaced Drey Wright with Callum Hendry at the interval, however, before the substitute could make an impact the hosts conceded their third goal of the afternoon.
Former Hibee Kennedy was caught in possession on halfway by Allan who drove forward and as the St Johnstone defence retreated, he slammed an angled shot beyond Clark into the far corner of the net.
Hibernian were rampant and it took a fine save from Clark to thwart Kamberi at his near post after the Swiss striker had evaded Anthony Ralston to create a shooting opportunity.
In the 58th minute Naismith crossed from the right and Doidge rose above the Saints defence to head powerfully beyond Clark and claim his first hat-trick for Hibernian.
That goal ended any lingering hopes the home side had of getting back into the match and Hibernian almost notched a fifth in 67 minutes when Stevenson threaded the ball through to Kamberi, who stepped away from Duffy before angling shot just wide of the far post.
Doidge left the field to a standing ovation late on to be replaced by Martin Boyle and the Australian international was quickly involved setting up Newell, who curled a shot just wide of Clark’s post.
Soon after a powerful shot from Allan slammed into the side-netting as Hibernian continued to search for more goals.
Yet, in the final minute, May got the slightest of touches to divert Ralston’s cross into the Hibernian net to grab little more than a consolation for St Johnstone as the visitors finished comfortable winners.
St Johnstone: Clark, Ralston, Tanser, Duffy, Kerr, Wright (Hendry 46), Wotherspoon (Holt 67), McCann, Davidson, Kennedy (O’Halloran 61), May. Substitutes not used: Parish, Vihmann, Craig, Swanson.
Hibernian: Maxwell, Hanlon, Slivka, Doidge (Boyle 82), Newell (Horgan 90), Stevenson, Naismith, Kamberi, Allan (Mallan 90), Hallberg, Porteous. Substitutes not used: Marciano, Horgan, Mallan, James, Jackson, Shaw.
Referee: Andrew Dallas.
Report: Richard Payne.