By Euan Wood
Managerless Hibs were left to rue their squandered opportunities as they were held to a 1-1 draw with St Mirren at the SMISA stadium.
The Hibees continue their run of four league games without a win as caretaker boss David Gray is tasked with turning around the imminent fortunes at Easter Road.
It ends in a draw. pic.twitter.com/rQ7UGdH8E7
— Hibernian Football Club (@HibernianFC) December 11, 2021
Josh Campbell fired Hibs ahead early into the second half with his first goal in the Scottish top-flight, before Saints captain Joe Shaughnessy levelled the score in the dying stages of the game.
Despite the disappointment of his sides late capitulation, Gray firmly believes that his side can turn around their recent run of poor form: “The feeling of disappointment is probably the right word, but it is a different disappointment from Wednesday night. I think on Wednesday night we got what we deserved which was nothing, and
today to lose the goal late on is very disappointing but the manner is different.
“I thought we started the game well, created enough chances in the first half, their goalkeeper was by far the busier one. I thought we managed the game well and just, unfortunately, couldn’t get over the line.
“I’ve always got confidence in this group of players; they are a real good bunch. There’s a firm belief that a performance is coming, and we just need to stick together and believe in what we are doing moving forward and move onto Tuesday.”
Disregarding the frustrating first-half display, Jim Goodwin was delighted with his side’s character and felt the result was justified: “I’m delighted with the character shown by the players to keep going, but I think it is a fair result in the end.
“I thought the first half was really poor from both teams, not a great deal of football being played. The conditions this afternoon were difficult, but I thought in the second half once we got the ball down and actually played underneath the wind, we looked a half-decent team.
“The goal is really frustrating from my point of view because it was something we highlighted after the Aberdeen game. We need to be a little bit more secure when we are attacking, we were
vulnerable to the counter-attack up at Pittodrie last weekend and unfortunately the Hibs goal comes from that kind of area again.”
It was a lively opening period of the game with the visitors looking to redeem themselves following the recent departure of manager Jack Ross.
With the adverse weather conditions playing their part, Hibs came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock after five minutes; Charles Dunne’s mistimed clearance was easily intercepted by Jamie Murphy who countered with pace before skilfully cutting onto his favoured left foot and unleashing his strike towards goal, but Jak Alnwick reacted quickly to produce a smart stop from close range.
The skipper celebrates ©️ pic.twitter.com/2acmTFnoSk
— St Mirren FC (@saintmirrenfc) December 11, 2021
With the hosts struggling to cope in the testing conditions, the visitors continued to look threatening and should’ve been undoubtedly ahead midway through the first half. Martin Boyle’s perfectly weighted delivery superbly picked out Campbell deep into the St Mirren penalty area, but with the goal at his mercy, the young midfielders headed effort was comfortably held by Alnwick.
Following a very disappointing first-half display, with very few notable opportunities, the hosts left the field to a chorus of boos from an infuriated home support.
Minutes into the second half, Hibs finally broke the deadlock following an exceptional piece of individual skill from Boyle. The forward skilfully worked his way into the box, dancing past several lacklustre challenges, before cutting inside and firing towards goal.
His low driven effort was inadvertently deflected into the path of Campbell who composed himself before calmly placing his strike past Alnwick into the bottom right corner.
Chasing an equaliser in the latter stages of the game, St Mirren started to come alive and were unfortunate not to be level with 15 minutes remaining. Scott Tanser’s delightful cross picked out Curtis Main unmarked in the box, but the experienced forward’s effort was brilliantly stopped by Matt Macey in the Hibs goal.
The Buddies left it late, but with the final few minutes ticking away, Saints captain Shaughnessy powered home the equaliser from a few yards out. Tanser’s low-driven cross was excellently taken by the Irishman who set himself before firing his effort high into the net, leaving Macey with no chance.
Here are the three things we learned as St Mirren earned a late draw against Hibs:
Changes needed at Hibs
Hibs caretaker boss, David Gray, must act quickly to find a solution to resolve the growing problems at Easter Road. Hibs are now without a win in their last four league meetings, with the recent departure of Jack Ross still impacting upon the team. With one week remaining before a crucial League Cup final against Celtic, the board must act quickly to find a suitable replacement.
St Mirren continue winless run
Despite their late equaliser, Jim Goodwin will be left feeling frustrated as his side extend their winless run to nine league games. The Saints struggled to create any real opportunities
or pose any significant threat to the visitors in the first half. The opening goal sparked Goodwin’s side into life in the latter stages of the game, but it was too little too late as they
slip to ninth in the Premiership table.
First Premiership goal for Hibs midfielder
Hibs midfielder Josh Campbell opened his account for the season after netting his first senior goal in the Scottish top-flight. The 21-year-old confidently curled his effort low past Alnwick into the bottom right corner to give the visitors the advantage early into the second half.
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