Hibernian 1-3 St Johnstone

By Kenny CrawfordBBC Sport Scotland

St Johnstone eased to a comfortable Scottish Premier League victory over Hibernian at Easter Road.

Rowan Vine followed up a saved Steven MacLean shot to open the scoring before firing an impressive second past Hibs keeper Ben Williams minutes later.

Williams then stopped a MacLean penalty after Ryan McGivern felled Mehdi Abeid.

Ex-Hibs man Paddy Cregg benefitted from Murray Davidson's pass to make it three before Leigh Griffiths sprinted clear to score a late consolation.

St Johnstone had failed to register a point or a goal in their previous league meetings with Hibs this term.

After a quiet opening, Hibs' Eoin Doyle flashed a cross-shot wide, which indicated better times might be ahead.

Penalty save
Hibs' Ben Williams saved Steven MacLean's first-half penalty

But the opening celebrations were to be St Johnstone's on 23 minutes.

Vine neatly fed MacLean, who unleashed a fierce drive from the edge of the box which Williams could only parry, and Vine reacted quickest to lash home from six yards.

And no sooner did Saints have that elusive goal against the Easter Road men, that another one arrived.

Vine received the ball on the left corner of the box before cutting inside Hibs full-back Alan Maybury and firing a fine right-footed effort past Williams for his sixth of the campaign.

The visiting fans were delighted and they should have been cheering for a third goal on 33 minutes.

Saints' new signing Abeid sprinted on to a through ball before McGivern slid in with a late challenge on the Frenchman to concede a penalty.

McGivern was yellow-carded by referee Kevin Clancy and St Johnstone's MacLean placed the ball on the spot.

However, Hibs keeper Williams guessed right and dived low to his left to save the spot-kick.

The impressive save seemed to inject a little life into Pat Fenlon's side and Griffiths went close with a curling free-kick.

Both Liam Craig and Griffiths had testing long-range shots for St Johnstone and Hibs respectively at the beginning of the second period.

The home side brought on Paul Cairney and Jorge Claros to bring about a change in fortunes, but on 58 minutes the night got worse for the Leith faithful.

Cregg found himself on the end of a fine Davidson pass into the box and stroked easily past a helpless Williams.

Entering the final quarter of the match, Easter Road was beginning to look emptier and emptier as home fans headed for the exits.

Those who did leave missed an 82nd minute consolation from Griffiths.

A simple long ball through the middle put him through and the striker held off Saints' David McCracken before finishing left-footed past Alan Mannus.

Any further Hibs fight-back failed to materialise though and, despite a close McGivern shot in injury-time, St Johnstone safely moved to fourth in the SPL.

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