A dramatic ending allowed Hibs to continue their excellent start to the season, getting past St Johnstone 1-0.
There were three disallowed goals in the first half and St Johnstone strongly felt they should have been in front after the half-hour mark. Callum Hendry beat Ofir Marciano with a header, although it was controversially ruled out for offside. A dramatic Stevie Mallan penalty in the dying embers then handed Hibs a late, late win.
It was a quite opening to the game, the match becoming a bit scrappy with little final third quality. Hibs have shown this season how deadly they can be in attack but after a goalless performance last week against Motherwell, they were then missing Kevin Nisbet through injury as they looked to get back on the scoresheet.
Martin Boyle had an early shot saved by Elliot Parish before three goals were disallowed inside as many minutes of each other. First it was the away side, Boyle’s effort ruled offside after forcing Parish into a mistake and getting the ball back off Horgan.
Then it was the controversial ruling. Marciano came rushing out to claim a cross, missing it as Hendry headed into the net. It was ruled offside, but replays appear to show Horgan playing the St Johnstone striker onside at the backpost.
Shortly after that it was in the net again, this time at the other end. Christian Doidge fumbled it into the net but his effort was also chopped off, this time for a handball in the buildup. There had been chances but nothing had counted in the first half.
St Johnstone started the brighter of the two sides in the first half, Jason Kerr putting two great balls across the box but with no takers. Danny McNamara then tested Marciano but the Israeli was equal to the Millwall loanee’s high effort.
A return to scrappy play ensued as both sides struggled to have any meaningful efforts at goal. There were runs into the each other’s final third, but nothing concrete.
Both sides tried to break the deadlock as the game came to a close but there was drama to be had. Alex Gogic hit the post with a header from a late corner, the resulting scramble handing Jack Ross’ team a penalty after a foul in the box as Ryan Porteous went down.
Mallan, making his return from injury, stepped up to dispatch from the spot as they snatched three points in dramatic fashion, Liam Craig seeing red for the Saints at the full time whistle. St Johnstone remain on four points whilst Hibs’ great start to the season continues. Here are three things we learned.
Saints forward Hendry will be fuming he hasn’t gotten himself on the scoresheet at McDiarmid Park. He took full advantage of Marciano’s decision to rush out for the ball but in the end was cruelly denied a goal by the offside flag.
It was a big call in the match that could have given Callum Davidson’s side an advantage but in the end they were beaten at the death. Cue the entrance music for the introducing V.A.R to Scottish football debate…
Sign of a good team
Neither team were great in this one but Hibs are finding a way to win no matter the circumstances just now. Things are falling for them just now and it happened again in Perth, earning a penalty in the dying minutes.
Whilst not playing amazingly, they still got three points. They say the sign of a good team in football is when you can win without playing your best.
Hibs keep the door shut
There are many positives to take at the back for the Hibees. Again today they picked up a clean sheet, their third in succession.
Only conceding two goals overall in five matches, it’s been a strong start defensively. Continuing that form will be key in the weeks ahead, albeit they could be doing with finding the attack spark that everyone knows resides within Ross’ side to make things more comfortable.