St Mirren struck late to snatch a share of the spoils at the SMiSA Stadium on Tuesday night.
We dominated for long spells of the game this evening and led twice through Josh Campbell and Joe Newell only for St Mirren to strike back through a Mark O’Hara penalty and last-gasp effort from Lewis Jamieson.
Credit goes to a high-flying St Mirren side that were looking to close the gap on Rangers, however, it was another difficult result to take and we had to settle for a 2-2 draw in Paisley.
Nick Montgomery made two changes from the weekend with Campbell and Rory Whittaker starting with Martin Boyle and Lewis Miller dropping down to the bench.
Newell once again led the boys out as we made a bright start in Paisley, moving the ball around well and maintaining possession against the hosts.
We broke the deadlock with the first effort of note in the game as Dylan Vente pounced on a mistake from Alex Gogic to set up Campbell from the edge of the box and his first-time, composed finish found the bottom-left corner of the net.
It was Josh’s fourth goal of the campaign and the perfect start for us as we looked to bounce back from the weekend’s disappointment.
We took a big lift from the goal and pushed for a second with Richard Taylor sliding in to block a powerful Elie Youan strike shortly after Zach Hemming had to race from his line to thwart Vente after a threaded pass from Newell.
On 21 minutes a wonderful crossfield ball from Jair found Vente’s run into the St Mirren box although the angle proved too tight for the forward and his shot fizzed past the near post.
We had set up with a 4-4-1-1 formation this evening with Campbell playing in the hole behind Vente and it was working as he found space time and again around the hosts’ box.
Next to nothing had been seen from St Mirren in an attacking sense during the first 30 minutes however they had begun to test our resolve with some teasing crosses from Ryan Strain on their left and from one Scott Tanser should have done better than head wide.
We were unlucky not to increase our lead on 33 minutes when we peppered the St Mirren goal with close-range efforts. First, Youan had a shot blocked before Hemming denied Whittaker from the rebound and showed great reactions to get up quickly to keep out Youan’s follow-up.
Chances were coming thick and fast for the Hibees, and we doubled up well on the left through Jordan Obita and Jair before the latter fed Campbell who in turn squared to the lurking Youan, and he shot just wide.
St Mirren would finish the half strongly with Caolan Boyd-Munce shooting over the crossbar from the edge of our box before Newell had to spare Will Fish’s blushes after the defender almost gifted Mandron a free shot at goal from close range.
Half-time felt like it came at the right time for us as the hosts applied real pressure on our goal however the second half started in a similar fashion.
Just one minute after the restart Greg Kiltie’s cross was partially cleared by Fish but only as far as Marcus Fraser and his volley whistled just wide of the post.
Again, we had a great chance to increase our advantage when another bad mistake from Gogic – this time playing a short back pass to Hemming whilst under pressure from Vente – allowed Campbell to pounce only for the goalkeeper to gather as the midfielder attempted to go round him.
It looked to have been a pivotal save when St Mirren were awarded a penalty kick on 50 minutes after VAR spotted a pull from Obita on Taylor at a corner kick. O’Hara sent David Marshall the wrong way from the spot kick to level the game.
We responded well to the goal and it took a fine save from Hemming diving low to his right to turn an excellent shot from Youan round his post.
The game became much more stretched in the second half which led to opportunities as both ends with Tanser’s shot and turn held by Marshall as St Mirren threatened.
With 21 minutes remaining we regained the lead. Youan slipped a ball through to Vente who squared it for Newell to turn home from close range.
As we headed into the closing stages St Mirren substitute, Alex Greive, bustled his way into our area before shooting just wide of the far post and, at the other end, Newell linked up with Josh Landers before being denied by O’Hara as he looked to pull the trigger.
Five minutes of additional time were signalled by the fourth official and in the second of those St Mirren snatched a point as Jamieson’s shot was first blocked by Rocky, however, it fell straight back to the St Mirren attacker's feet, and he made no mistake at the second time of asking.
Another frustrating result for the boys however there were plenty of positives to take from a performance that deserved more.
St Mirren: Hemming, Fraser, Gogic, Taylor, Strain, Boyd-Munce (Baccus 63’), O’Hara, Tanser, Kiltie (Jamieson 77’), Mandron (Olusanya 63’), McMenamin (Greive 77’). Substitutes not used: Urminsky, Bolton, Dunne, Small, Flynn.
Hibernian: Marshall, Whittaker (Miller 67’), Fish, Rocky, Obita, Levitt (Jeggo 82’), Newell, Campbell, Youan, Jair, Vente (Landers 85’). Substitutes not used: Wollacott, Hanlon, Boyle, Stevenson, Delferriere, Molotnikov.
Referee: Steven McLean.