St Mirren 2-3 Hibernian

By Annie McGuireBBC Sport Scotland

Hibs moved further from the foot of the table with victory over St Mirren in an entertaining match in Paisley.

A blunder by St Mirren goalkeeper Craig Samson gifted Leigh Griffiths the opener before a double from Paul McGowan put the home side in front.

But Hibs levelled with a Sean O'Hanlon header in the 37th minute.

Then Griffiths doubled his tally five minutes from half time, with Hibs holding out against sustained St Mirren pressure late in the second half.

Having beaten Hibernian at Easter Road back in August, St Mirren boss Danny Lennon used the same starting eleven two months on, with Gary Teale replacing Nigel Hasselbaink from the side which drew with Rangers last week.

Hibs introduced David Wotherspoon, Danny Galbraith and Griffiths at the expense of Martin Scott, Victor Palsson and Ivan Sproule, with the latter out of the squad altogether.

Both sides took time to settle, but it was a nervous performance from St Mirren goalkeeper which led to the opening goal after just six minutes.

Samson delayed for too long after receiving a passback from Lee Mair, and was dispossesed by Griffiths just yards off his goal-line. The on-loan Wolves forward coolly slotted past the keeper, who could only look as Griffiths fired into an empty net.

Hibs almost doubled their advantage seconds later, thanks to another defensive error from St Mirren.

This time it was Marc McAusland who was responsible for the slack passing; Junior Agogo pouncing on the loose ball and crossing in towards Griffiths, who could only send it into the side-netting from close range.

Paul McGowan, Jeroen Tesselaar
St Mirren were briefly 2-1 up, after a brace from Paul McGowan

Despite those early setbacks, St Mirren persisted with their brand of passing football and were rewarded just after the half-hour mark.

A great ball in from David Van Zanten on the right-hand side found the head of McGowan who showed great composure to connect with the cross and power home his third goal of the season, despite Graham Stack getting a hand to the ball

And McGowan didn't have to wait long for his fourth as his name was back on the scoresheet within 90 seconds. Teale's free kick was headed across goal by Steven Thompson and then bounced off a Hibs player towards McGowan, who drove low and hard past Stack.

But, in a 10-minute spell of end-to-end action, Hibs managed to equalise and then regain their early lead.

In the 37th minute Wotherspoon sent a long free-kick in to the back post and O'Hanlon rose highest at the back post to head back across Samson and into the net - the referee Bobby Madden unsympathetic to the St Mirren players' claims that O'Hanlon had fouled Thompson in the process.

There was more drama four minutes later when Hibs striker Garry O'Connor chipped the ball upfield to set up his strike-partner Griffiths, who drove an angled shot past Samson to reclaim the lead for the visitors.

Akpo Sodje scooped a shot over from a couple of yards out as Hibs missed an excellent chance to extend their lead after the break.

St Mirren started the second half poorly and failed to create any real chance to equalise until the 70th minute, when build-up play by Mair and McGowan allowed Thompson a shot from the edge of the box, which ricocheted back to the striker.

This time Thompson chose to square the ball to substitute Hasselbaink who couldn't find the target from close range.

With 10 minutes remaining Hasselbaink dribbled past three Hibs players then crossed for the on-rushing Thompson in the centre of the box. O'Hanlon appeared to get a touch on his shot, which went wide of the mark.

There were also late chances for Hibs, with both Junior Agogo and substitute Sodje creating chances but, in the end, the visitors were happy to hold on to their first half lead and earn their first away win since July.

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