St Mirren 0 – 1 Hibernian 21/02/2011

Hibs make it three in a row as Saints slump to defeat

Sunday 20th February

Graham Baird reports…

In Sunday’s late SPL game, Hibernian recorded their third win in a row for the first time in over a year, beating St Mirren 1-0 in a bitterly cold afternoon in Paisley.

Francis Dickoh secured the points for the visitors three minutes from time, heading in from close range. The victory takes Colin Calderwood’s men to within one point of ninth placed Aberdeen.

The game was by no means a classic with both sides creating little in front of goal throughout a scrappy encounter. On paper, the teams’ positions in the league table could be justified with the lack of imagination and spark this game produced.

St Mirren started the game with a confident aura about their play, determined to secure their first win in eight attempts. The home side looked the more likely to open the scoring, and came close in the 10th minute when Paul McGowan crossed in for Steven Thomson, only for the deflected effort to be scrambled clear by the Hibernian backline.

However the best effort in the first half came in the thirteenth minute from Hibs’ Martin Scott, who connected well with a cross from David Wotherspoon. His headed effort bounced back off the woodwork with the static Paul Gallacher left with his post to thank.

St Mirren continued to press, and when the ball fell to Michael Higdon inside the area, the striker should have done better with his effort sailing wide of the right hand post.

In the latter stages of the first half Hibs began to compete more and were starting to get a stranglehold on the game. They came close to opening the scoring after a mistake from St Mirren defender Marc McAusland almost resulted in an own goal.

Scott again struck the woodwork just before the interval with his dipping header clipping the top of the crossbar. The Saints keeper looked to have the effort covered but Hibs were beginning to grow in confidence toward the end of the half.

Hibs came out in the second half looking more assertive and the more likely to claim the three points. St Mirren were limited to long balls, with Hibs central defensive pairing Dickoh and Hanlon looking comfortable at the back.

As Hibs grew into the game they applied more pressure on the St Mirren goal. Derek Riordan almost produced the breakthrough just short of the hour mark, with a stinging 20 yard shot fumbled wide by Saints keeper, Paul Gallacher.

St Mirren’s opportunities were limited in the second half, and when the ball fell to Craig Dargo, the striker really should have produced a better effort with his ambitious chip clearing the crossbar.

The home fans frustrations were soon heard when Craig Dargo appeared to have put Michael Higdon through into space only for the striker to waste the opportunity with a poor lay-off.

At times, Colin Calderwood’s frustration at his sides’ lack of creativity got the better of him, with midfielder David Wotherspoon on the end of a verbal dressing down.

As the game wore on so did the hope of St Mirren claiming the three points as a determined Hibs side battled their way through the match. The game looked to be heading for a 0-0 draw, until Hibs finally breached the St Mirren rear-guard with the goal coming from defender Francis Dickoh. A looping Callum Booth corner was headed back across goal by Paul Hanlon with Dickoh powering his header into the roof of the net past Paul Gallacher. An ironic twist for the centre half as he was due to miss the game today, until his red card against Kilmarnock last week was revoked.

With minutes left on the clock Hibs played possession football, working their way into the St Mirren half.

With the full time whistle blown, the home side were booed off the park by their own support, with fans aiming their frustrations solely at manager Danny Lennon.

This is the third win on the bounce for Calderwood’s team and a second over St Mirren in February, in what could prove to be a major turning point in his side’s season.

For St Mirren, Danny Lennon is left to contemplate a relegation battle his side now find themselves in with fellow strugglers, Hamilton.



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