St Johnstone 0-1 Hibernian: Visitors net injury-time penalty

23 August 2020 0 By Total Football News
St Johnstone defender Liam Gordon conceded a penalty in the dying moments

Stevie Mallan's injury-time winner in a dramatic finale at St Johnstone sent Hibernian level on points with Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers.

Substitute Mallan lashed home a penalty for the unbeaten visitors after Liam Gordon's foul on Ryan Porteous.

Hibs' Alex Gogic hit the post moments earlier and home midfielder Liam Craig was shown a second yellow card for dissent on the final whistle.

St Johnstone striker Callum Hendry had a first-half goal wrongly disallowed.

Hendry's header was one of three strikes ruled out in a five-minute spell, with Hibs' two efforts correctly chalked off.

St Johnstone remain in eighth place - two points above the bottom - after a second 1-0 home defeat in succession.

Martin Boyle's rasping early shot, parried away from the bottom corner by home keeper Elliot Parish, set the tone for a frenetic first half.

Each side thought they had found a breakthrough, only to be thwarted by the officials.

Hendry had the most cause for grievance, with the Saints striker onside when he bravely headed a right-wing delivery past Ofir Marciano. The linesman's raised flag was a relief to Marciano, who had rushed out and got caught flapping.

That was sandwiched between disallowed Hibs' strikes. Boyle, having charged down a Parish clearance, was yards offside when helping Daryl Horgan's scuffed shot in the net.

And Christian Doidge was guilty of handball before he turned home the rebound after his initial header drew an instinctive stop from the St Johnstone goalie.

Marciano redeemed himself with a flying save from the impressive Danny McNamara as St Johnstone dominated after the break against a Hibs side missing injured top scorer Kevin Nisbet.

But, for the second time in three days, Callum Davidson's team were bereft of a cutting edge, and punished late on as Hibs grabbed a scarcely-deserved victory. Gogic looped a header against the post and then kept the ball alive, sending it back into the box where Gordon bundled into the back of Porteous.

Man of the match - Alex Gogic

The Hibs midfielder, left, helped keep out St Johnstone at one end and played a key role at the other

What did we learn?

New manager Davidson is due a bit of luck. His St Johnstone side did a lot of things well and were worth a point if not all three. Having now failed to score in three of their last four games, though, it's clear where their problems lie. More incision and inventiveness is required up front.

Hibs are joint top, having again ground out victory when way below their best. It's a useful habit to have. The absence of Nisbet didn't help their attacking ambitions, but their new-found solidity bodes well. It's now three clean sheets on the spin for Jack Ross' side, who have yet to concede from open play this season.

What did they say?

St Johnstone defeat 'hard to take'

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson: "It [Hendry's disallowed goal] certainly looked onside, but you've just got to take it and get on with it.

"In the second half we got tighter, won a lot second balls and put them under pressure. In the last two games we've probably deserved four points. It's hard to take."

Hibs head coach Jack Ross: "First half we were good, second half St Johnstone forced us back. We made as many positive changes as we could to try to get a foothold back in the game.

"The players deserve all the credit they'll get for what they've done over the opening five games."

'We found a way to win' - Ross

What's next?

St Johnstone continue their search for Davidson's first home win when St Mirren head to Perth on Saturday, while Hibs host Aberdeen in the weekend's final game on Sunday.

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