AR241120 1359
Tue 24 Nov 2020
SPFL Premiership
HT 1-1
Hibernian Hibernian FC
2
St Johnstone St Johnstone FC
2
P. McGinn (
36', 83')
McCann (
35')
Wotherspoon (
76')
Match Report

Hibernian and St Johnstone shared the spoils as the home side twice came from behind to grab a deserved point following a 2-2 draw.

In an open and entertaining encounter there were opportunities aplenty for both sides.

St Johnstone struck first through Ali McCann on 35 minutes, only for Paul McGinn to level less than a minute later with his first goal for the club.

Substitute David Wotherspoon then restored Saints’ lead with 14 minutes remaining only for McGinn to complete his brace and ensure Hibs drew their second home encounter in four days.

The draw lifts Hibs up into third in the Scottish Premiership.

Jack Ross kept faith with the same starting XI that drew 2-2 with Celtic at the weekend.

That meant last term’s top goal scorer, Christian Doidge, had to be content with a place amongst the substitutes after missing Saturday’s match due to an ankle injury.

The match started at a terrific tempo from both teams and there were early opportunities at both ends of the park.

First, McGinn’s ball forward was missed by Liam Craig, allowing Jamie Murphy to set himself for a strike that Zander Clark did well to beat away before Kevin Nisbet shot off target just seconds later.

At the other end, a St Johnstone corner kick was not dealt with properly by the home defence and Guy Melamed was afforded the time and space to bring the ball down, turn and get a shot away inside the home penalty box. Thankfully, his finish was poor, and he blasted the ball high and wide of goal.

Moments later a mistake from Paul Hanlon allowed Michael O’Halloran to burst clear and his angled drive had the beating Ofir Marciano only to flash inches wide of the far post.

Play continued to flow from end-to-end at a pulsating pace and a terrific footwork from Martin Boyle saw him evade the challenges of three St Johnstone players before picking out Murphy, who was unable to guide his near post effort on target.

The rain was lashing down onto the sodden Easter Road turf and neither side were able to get their foot on the ball and dictate play with any meaningful spells of possession.

Paul Hanlon was forced off with a painful dead leg after only 20 minutes, with Darren McGregor taking his place.

Former Hibernian captain Craig was next to attempt to find a breakthrough and his 28th-minute shot from the edge of the box was deflected straight into the grateful arms of Marciano.

The deadlock was finally broken in the 35th minute when Hibs failed to deal with a Scott Tanser cross and Stevie May knocked the ball into the path of McCann who quickly slotted it beyond Marciano to score.

Saints’ lead lasted less than a minute. McGinn gathered the ball just inside the Saints half before finding Murphy, who attempted to return it, however, a deflection off a Saints shirt instead diverted it onto Nisbet. This was enough to create space for McGinn to run into and when Nisbet laid it into his path the defender calmly placed it beyond Clark and into the net via the far post.

from @HibernianFC

Hibs had a good opportunity to take the lead shortly after the half-time interval when Murphy showed great technique and pace to evade Danny McNamara and from his cutback Nisbet volleyed over.

For the final 35 minutes Ross replaced Alex Gogic with Doidge as Hibs went with a bold attacking look that left Mallan and Newell as the defensive midfielders.

Initially, it appeared to give Hibs a shot in the arm as the Easter Road men started to find more space in front of the St Johnstone goal. Sean Mackie did well to get in behind on the left and from his cut-back Newell stabbed the ball wide of goal.

St Johnstone quickly adjusted and the introduction of Wotherspoon helped them.

A terrific delivery from Tanser flashed across the face of the Hibs goal, only just evading the sliding May before Wotherspoon scooped a shot over the crossbar moments later.

With 16 minutes remaining Clark made a terrific diving save to deny Murphy at his near post after Boyle had carved out yet another opportunity for his team-mates.

A goal was overdue and it arrived a minute later when Wotherspoon was allowed to drive at the Hibs defence from deep and as the home rear-guard backed away he finished clinically with a powerful low drive that gave Marciano no chance.

St Johnstone’s lead was to last a little longer this time – six minutes – as Hibs hit back once more when Mackie’s deep cross was only partially cleared and McGinn smashed a powerful shot on the angle across Clark and into the far corner of the net.

Hibs penned St Johnstone back in the final minutes however they were unable to fashion any further opportunities and the points were shared.

Image: Alan Rennie.

Report: Richard Payne.