St Mirren sinks Hibs as Connor Ronan’s sublime strike increases Buddies’ top six chances

Connor Ronan’s stunning goal sealed a stunning capital win against Hibs to extend St Mirren’s unbeaten run into 2022.

The Buddies arrived in Edinburgh knowing that a victory at Leith would put them just two points behind Shaun Maloney’s side.

And they more than matched the hosts in an eventful first half, with Jordan Jones, Jay Henderson and Alex Greive all seeing well-guarded efforts by fit goalkeeper Kevin Dabrowski.

Hibs ran out of the traps in the second half, with Jak Alnwick producing two superb saves from Ewan Henderson to keep the score level.

And those saves proved pivotal when Wolves loan Ronan robbed former St Mirren midfielder Jake Doyle-Hayes before launching an unstoppable strike high into the roof of the net to break the deadlock.

Hibs threw everything they had against the Saints in the closing stages, but Jim Goodwin’s team held their own to earn their fourth win in five games since returning from the winter break.

The win gives St Mirren’s top six hopefuls a huge boost, with the Paisley club now sitting just one point behind Dundee United in sixth and two behind Hibs in fifth.

St Mirren made just one change since their midweek clash with Motherwell, with recent New Zealand signing Alex Greive delivering his first start for the club since joining the Buddies.

He filled in for the injured Eamonn Brophy, with Curtis Main and Conor McCarthy back available from their respective strikes with both on the bench.

There was an early scare for the Saints when Demetri Mitchell burst down the left wing and sliced ​​a low ball into the box that Joe Shaughnessy couldn’t handle. Richard Tait finally cleared the danger.

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At the other end, some good interaction on the left flank saw the ball pass to Jordan Jones, who sent a cross into the box.

Greive was on the lookout, but the opportunity was lost when the ball grazed the top of his head before going airborne.

Mitchell earned an early yellow card after taking out Greive as the Buddies were looking to escape a bad Hibs corner.

The Saints should have made a more terrible pass from Ryan Porteous, with Connor Ronan’s pass easily blocked with the Hibs defense wide open.

Home fans expressed their frustration early on as the Paisley team dominated the first 20 minutes, with Jones and Greg Kiltie driving the visitors through the park.

Richard Tait tried his luck from distance, with Hibs goalkeeper Kevin Dabrowski nearly covering the curling effort as he came inches from the post, before Jones fired from the edge of the box as Jim Goodwin’s side started the game brilliantly. .

Greive was next to capitalize on some unconfident defense from Hibs, running in before delivering a low blow that Dabrowski palmed away to protect him.

Hibs nearly broke the deadlock when some one-touch passes unlocked the Saints’ defense to send Chris Meuller on goal. Only a late block from Marcus Fraser prevented the striker from putting the Leith side in front.

Tait entered the book for a sliding challenge on former Motherwell teammate Chris Cadden, with the game becoming more energetic as the first half wore on.

St Mirren moved forward once more with Ronan releasing Jones on the left wing. With Greive and Henderson storming the area, the former Killie and Rangers forward could only find Dabrowski’s hands with the goal at the mercy of the Buddies.

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A short corner routine from St Mirren saw Jones hit Connor Ronan, but the Wolves loan seized the opportunity with his low blow that went wide.

Former Saints midfielder Jake Doyle-Hayes entered the book for another cynical foul on Greive as the forward appeared to burst in from behind, before Ronan beat two Hibs defenders before a lovely play before setting up Jay Henderson.

His effort from close range was parried by Dabrowski, and St Mirren was aggrieved at not being in front when the referee blew the half-time whistle.

Hibs flew out of the traps in the second half, with Cadden setting up Meuller perfectly on the edge of the box. The American shot well over the crossbar when he really should have done better.

The hosts were up and only a sublime save from Jak Alnwick kept the score level. Kevin Nisbet outplayed Fraser in the box before bringing on substitute Ewan Henderson, who thought he had scored only to see Alnwick deny it magnificently from close range.

Seconds later, a low cross crossed the Saints’ box without any Hibs player being close enough to score.

The Buddies were undoubtedly under pressure and Alnwick had to be at his best once again to beat a powerful one-handed effort from Henderson to keep his side level.

Goodwin’s team managed to gain a foothold in the second half, with Jones selecting Kiltie in the Hibs area with an excellent cross. Killie’s former midfielder headed his header past the left post.

That foothold quickly turned into an advantage as Ronan capitalized on an even weaker defense from Hibs. He picked the pocket of former friend Jake Doyle-Hayes before rocketing past Dabrowski, prompting wild celebrations in the Saints’ endgame.

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Hibs almost equalized immediately when a low cross finally found its way to Nisbet in acres of space in the box. Alnwick deflected his tame shot from him to keep the Saints’ noses in front.

St Mirren still looked dangerous at half-time, with Jones bursting down the right flank before sending an excellent ball into the box that was begging to be saved. Unfortunately for the Saints, there were no buyers to double the lead, and Greive just couldn’t make the cut.

Hibs threw as much as he could at St Mirren in the closing stages, with Maloney throwing in several attacking substitutions to try and turn the tide.

But the Buddies held their ground to seal an impressive win at Leith, continuing their unbeaten run in 2022 ahead of St Johnstone’s visit to SMISA Stadium next Wednesday night.

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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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