St Johnstone had the lead for less than a minute in the first half, Ali McCann scoring after 34 minutes before Jack Ross’ men marched up the other end and scored through Paul McGinn. David Wotherspoon would restore the away advantage 15 minutes from time but again McGinn would strike, saving a point for his team.
Given how tight the 1-0 affair, in which the Hibees won, was earlier in the season, much the same was expected from this. But it started with a flurry of chances for the visitors and striker Guy Melamed.
Making his first league start for the Saints, he went close from inside the box before firing another effort from an angle just inches wide. Sandwiched between that was a chance for Kevin Nisbet, who blasted well over. Hibs were then forced into an early change as captain Paul Hanlon exited play with injury, replaced by Darren McGregor.
The McDiarmid Park side opened the scoring after the half-hour mark. Scott Tanser made a nice run down the left and fed Stevie May. He did enough to get the ball to in-form McCann, the midfielder burying his chance.
That moment of goodness lasted fewer than 60 minutes. Hibs managed to go straight from kick-off to the 18-yard box, Nisbet turning provider for McGinn as he scored his first Hibs goal.
It left the match finely poised heading into the second half. Joe Newell spurned its best early chance, the Hibs playmaker missing the target from just six yards out.
Much like the first half, the second was played at a high-intensity, although clear chances were becoming a rarity. McGregor almost handed the visitors a great chance as he botched clearing the ball but Saints couldn’t punish the mistake.
Wotherspoon would make up for blootering the end product of this Perth attack over the bar with a great goal 15 minutes from time. He cut his way in and out of the Hibs backline before firing an unstoppable effort past Marciano.
But again St Johnstone couldn’t hold onto a lead and again McGinn would be the man to have a say in that. Hibs pressed forward for the leveler and the ball broke to the right-back, proceeding to fire low into the corner.
It earned a point for Hibs as the even contest finished with the shares spoiled. Here are three things we learned.
Both sides had something big to play for in this one. Three points either way would hand Hibs third spot or allow St Johnstone to move into the top six.
While Ross’ men did manage to get into third, it’s only by one goal, Aberdeen having the chance to overtake with just a draw away to Hamilton. Davidson watched his team give their lead up twice and will be disappointed they only sit seventh.
One of Davidson’s flashier signings of the window was Israeli striker Melamed. Having arrived from his native Israel and all the current procedures in this Covid-19 climate, it’s took him a while to get up to speed.
He was handed a first Premiership start Easter Road and showed promise. He had a nice few touches and held the ball up well, getting him into good spaces too for scoring, perhaps unfortunate not to hit the net.
An unpredictable match
The term ‘coupon buster’ is thrown around often these teams but Hibs v St Johnstone really defines the term. Right up until the last moments of this game, you didn’t know how this one would pan out.
In their last 24 matches now, there have been eight wins each with the same amount of draws. It’s always about fine margins when these two play and it was the same again on Tuesday night.