Sorry Saints slump to Hibs defeat at home

By Kyle Gunn

St Mirren 0-1 Hibs.

It was yet another blunt and sorry showing from St Mirren as they were consigned defeat against managerless Hibs in Paisley.

Ewan Henderson’s late goal was enough to give David Gray all three points in his first game in interim charge following the sacking of Shaun Maloney.

Maloney was dismissed on Tuesday morning after just six wins in 19 games across all competitions and only four months in the Easter Road hot seat.

But it is the hosts who are now nervously watching over their shoulders after just one victory in nine matches under new boss Stephen Robinson.

The Northern Irishman switched to a 5-3-2 formation in an attempt to solidify his defensive unit, having now conceded 20 goals in his short tenure so far.

The former Motherwell gaffer made four changes from the 4-0 Rangers two weeks ago.

Jak Alnwick, Conor McCarthy, Scott Tanser and Curtis Main all came in, as Dean Lyness, Charles Dunne, Jordan Jones and Jay Henderson made way.

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With Robinson clearly hoping to miss out the midfield and go long to the more physical pair Main and Brophy but the plan didn’t really work out how they way he would have imagined, with both strikers struggling to link up together.

Hibs’ Ewan Henderson celebrates putting them 1-0 up

Gray made one change from Maloney’s last game as boss in the Scottish Cup semi final loss to derby rivals Hearts at the national stadium.

Central defender Ryan Porteous dropped out through suspension, as young attacker Elias Melkersen was back in the starting line-up, partnering on loan Hull City frontman James Scott up top.

Saints were forced into an early sub after Richard Tait was replaced by Henderson due to the affects of 50-50 challenge with Lewis Stevenson.

There was a change for the visitors too, as Josh Doig came on for the crocked Chris Cadden and both subs have stagnated any chances in the first 20 minutes.

Home sub Henderson delivers a dangerous cross which Eamonn Brophy tries to turn in but goalkeeper Matt Macey and Paul McGinn between them manage to clear the ball before Main could get there and give Saints a priceless lead after half an hour.

Henderson’s raw pace was much needed for the hosts as there was no outlet for the home side in the opening stages.

Former Killie striker also planted a header straight at Macey as the Buddies looked to get ahead.

Hibs midfielder Joe Newell, fresh from his sending off at Hampden Park last weekend, missed his kick at the edge of the box and Henderson got his header all wrong under pressure from home defenders.

The away side did control possession in the first half without creating any clear cut opportunities as the sides went in level at the break.

Much like the beginning to the first, there was an early change due to injury, this time Brophy departed to be replaced by 1young New Zealand striker Alex Grieve.

Scotland Under-21 international left fullback Doig provided a great cross for James Scott but the former mother striker heads it straight into the hands of a grateful goalkeeper Alnwick.

Gray was delighted as his interim charges led with less than 20 minutes to go in the game and the goal came courtesy on loan Celtic midfielder Henderson, who will join the club on a permanent basis in the summer.

The 22-year-old finished calmly past Alnwick from just inside the penalty area after 73 minutes and despite a late effort from Grieve, which was easily saved by Macey, it was another defeat for Robinson’s men.

Both on loan Wigan winger Jones and the experienced Ryan Flynn came on for Erhahon and Power as the game entered its dying stages but the midfield duo couldn’t do enough to help change the narrative that has been around the team for the last few weeks.

Returning left back Tanser also rattled the crossbar late on but there’s now just five points between the Buddies and St Johnstone, who currently occupy the relegation playoff position.

Sylvester Jasper played in Josh Campbell but the youngster somehow shot over Alnwick’s crossbar but it didn’t prove costly however as the visitors comfortably saw out the remaining seconds to secure all three points, which probably sees the Leith men safe from the relegation playoff discussions, level with Livingston five points clear of both Aberdeen and Saints with just four games left this season

The Perth side drew away to bottom side Dundee – Shaun Rooney netting a crucial equalizer for Callum Davidson’s men – ahead of the meeting of the two Saints at McDiarmid Park next weekend.

Something needs to change quickly for St Mirren – to ensure that a season which looked like it might end with a top-six spot – doesn’t end up with them in the relegation playoff position.

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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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