Hibernian 2-1 St Mirren

By Colin MoffatBBC Scotland at Easter Road

A double from in-form striker Leigh Griffiths fired Hibernian to the top of the Scottish Premier League against 10-man St Mirren.

Kenny McLean shot the Buddies in front from long-range but Griffiths levelled with a powerful finish.

Hibs improved after the interval and Griffiths, who hit the post twice, drilled in a fine strike on 65 minutes.

St Mirren's cause was further handicapped when skipper Jim Goodwin was dismissed for a second booking.

It was a fourth consecutive league defeat for the Paisely side, who had been the brighter side in the first half and put Hibs under pressure in the closing stages despite being a man down.

Hibs' lofty position is a far cry from last season when the club trailed at the wrong end of the table.

And the player that best encapsulates the dramatic turnaround is David Wotherspoon.

Leigh Griffiths was in superb form for the hosts
Griffiths fired his 10th and 11th goals of the season

The midfielder was a bag of nerves during the previous campaign and was not deemed good enough for a place in the side that was humiliated by Hearts in the Scottish Cup final.

Griffiths, who leads the SPL charts with 11 goals, will get all the headlines but Wotherspoon did much to give Hibs the upper hand in the second half with his clever promptings after a strangely subdued opening 45 minutes from the men in green.

Following a cagey first 15 minutes, Hibs keeper Ben Williams had to look lively to smother an opportunist strike from Steven Thompson and, soon after, Dougie Imrie curled a shot over the top.

Hibs were gifted a chance when a mix up between Goodwin and Lee Mair allowed Griffiths a free run at goal. However, the striker's venomous strike across the bows of Craig Samson cannoned away to safety off the inside of the upright.

McLean latched on to a lofted pass from Goodwin to get in behind the home defence but could not find a way past Williams, who saved with an outstretched leg.

But the Buddies midfielder did find the net on 32 minutes and he did it in style, thumping in a low, skidding shot from 25 yards after Hibs had twice failed to clear their lines.

Hibs were back on level terms five minutes later when Paul Cairney did well to get past two opponents on the left.

His cross glanced off the head of James McPake to land at the feet of Griffiths at the back post and the striker smashed the ball into the back of the net.

Hibs were playing with far greater zest after the break and Wotherspoon twice slipped great passes into the penalty area for Griffiths and Tom Taiwo, with the St Mirren defence scrambling clear on both occasions.

Griffiths' second goal came following positive thrusts from Cairney and Wotherspoon and when the ball broke to the on-loan forward, he produced a fabulous jink and drilled shot that whizzed in from 20 yards.

The visitors were then reduced to 10 men as skipper Goodwin let his side down by leading aggressively with an elbow to pick up his second yellow card.

And Mair was perhaps fortunate not to join his captain for an early bath when he blocked off Wotherspoon just a minute after being cautioned.

Griffiths hit the woodwork for the second time when his curling free-kick left Samson sprawling at his near post.

St Mirren substitute Graham Carey fluffed a good shooting opportunity as Hibs finished the game nervously and Thompson's strike was kept out by Williams.

Griffiths did find the net again, with a tremendous angled shot, but a linesman's flag was fluttering and signalled the only sour note on a good day for the happy home support.

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