Hibs pass up chance to go fourth again after they finally get creative but their lack of clinical edge proves costly as St Mirren show them how it should be done

In the first half they fell short of that, struggling to set a tempo that troubled St MIrren, who closed down the passes along the back line and pinned them in. And, all too often, Hibs failed to mix it up enough or find the passes or injection of pace needed to surprise them and open them up at the back.

It left the home outfit low on goalscoring opportunities but the same could not be said of their performance after the interval, when a shift in formation, going 4-2-3-1, gave them more command of the midfield and helped them penetrate the organized St Mirren backline only to be thwarted by visiting goalkeeper Jak Alnwick.

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Hibs manager Shaun Maloney had been happy with the Easter Road side’s performance against derby foes Hearts and was looking for more of the urgency and fight shown by his team on Tuesday as they attempted to take advantage of Motherwell’s inactivity and move up into fourth place.

St Mirren goalkeeper Jak Alnwick denied Hibs’ Ewan Henderson as the Paisley side claimed all three points in Leith. Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group

But, he was forced into a couple of key changes to the side that drew 0-0 with their rivals as sustained knocks in that match left Joe Newell in the stand and Josh Doig on the bench. He chose to stick by goalkeeper Kevin Dabrowski, though, after the stand-in keeper was impressive in his debut but he was unable to record another clean sheet as Hibs shot themselves in the foot. Although, an energetic and persistent St Mirren side helped load the ammunition.

Speaking in the build up, the Hibs gaffer said it was important not to get too hung up on the outcome and that improved performances would eventually reap rewards but, still looking for their first league win of 2022, he will have a hard job convincing the supporters who booed them off the pitch.

Things could have been different if Hibs had put away some of the opportunities created.

Kevin Nisbet, who had been too deep to pose St Mirren a headache in the opening 45 minutes, was a more predatory nuisance after the half-time reshuffle and both he and substitute Ewan Henderson could have had a couple.

In the 52nd minute the Scotland striker played in Henderson but Alnwick read the situation and quickly got out to brilliantly block the shot.

Henderson had another opportunity, though, in the 54th minute but it rolled wide.

Hibs were on the front foot and Chris Cadden found Demetri Mitchell, who played he ball back into the middle for Henderson but he was foiled by Alnwick diving to deny him.

At that stage Hibs were on top and St Mirren were simply holding on but a 62nd minute error changed the complexion of the contest as Jake Doyle-Hayes allowed a throw in from Lewis Stevenson to roll under his boot, allowing Connor Ronan to rob him and home in on goal before offering the home side a lesson in finishing expertly.

Hibs tried to get back in the game, making several attacking changes, including giving Slyvester Jasper his debut, but they couldn’t find a way back.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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