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10-Man Saints Suffer Defeat: St. Johnstone 1-2 Hibernian

St. Johnstone hosted Hibernian on Saturday, with the side from the Captial leaving Perth with a 2-1 victory and all 3 points.

[O'Halloran and Hanlon battle for possession]

Saints took the lead 5 minutes before the break but soon found themselves on the backfoot and down to 10 men with Craig Bryson receiving his marching orders right on half-time.

'Hibs' never looked back from there and threw everything at a resolute St. Johnstone defence, until they finally got that elusive equaliser late on - before then going onto grab the winner moments later.

Callum Davidson's side were poor overall and certainly did not do enough to deserve anything out of the game - the goal was coming and in the end, it was a more than fair result.

St. Johnstone now sit just 4 points off of the foot of the table, and simultaneously 4 points off of the top 6.

[A big run of fixtures lie ahead for Davidson's side]

Hibernian started the game on the front foot and had the ball in the back of the net in just 6 minutes through Kevin Nisbet, who finished with aplomb - however, to the relief of St. Johnstone the linesman's flag was up. Goal disallowed.

Neither side could really take control of the game with the ball getting lost in midfield for large periods, it was shaping up to be a scrappy affair.

Michael O'Halloran almost took the lead for Saints with a moment of magic, after he skipped a few oncoming challenges and fired on goal from the edge of the box but his shot just squeaked wide of the post.

Vertainen, O'Halloran, and Crawford were all trying to make something happen on the counter and did look dangerous at points when there was the potential to break with the ball, but it just wouldn't happen for them on the day.

[O'Halloran fights for the ball]

on 26 minutes Craig Bryson found his way into the referee's book after a late tackle on Ryan Porteous in the middle of the park.

'Hibs' were attempting to find gaps in behind the Saints backline but struggled to create clear-cut chances in the opening 45 minutes, with St. Johnstone quite comfortable with defending long balls forward.

Then in the 40th minute, St. Johnstone won a corner on the left, which Ali Crawford sent in - with his effort knocked back out. The ginger midfielder then took aim once more and swung an inviting cross into the middle of the box with Captain Liam Gordon rising above the rest and nodding it goalwards, with his headed effort finding the back of the net via Ryan Porteous. 1-0 to St. Johnstone!

[Liam Gordon celebrates the opener]

'Hibs' almost equalised moments later from a corner of their own - with Josh Campbell's header rattling the post, with Zander Clark injuring his hand in the process which had Saints fans sweating. Luckily the keeper was able to play on.

St. Johnstone then went down to 10 men right on the 45th minute, with Bryson chasing his first touch down and over-extending his leg and catching Joe Newell, with Euan Anderson reaching straight for his pocket and issuing a second yellow card. A needless foul to give away in the centre of the park when you are already on a yellow, poor decision making and Saints were down to 10.

[Anderson dismisses Bryson]

Half-time could not have come soon enough and now that St. Johnstone had gone down to 10 men the second 45 would be an uphill battle, but the Perth side went into the interval 1 goal up.

Half-Time: St. Johnstone 1-0 Hibernian

Callum Davidson made a change at half-time, bringing MacPherson on for Vertainen in an attempt to shut up shop and hold onto the lead.

St. Johnstone never got going in the second half and were incredibly deep for the majority of the rest of the game.

Hibs came close on a multitude of occasions, with Cadden striking the woodwork on 51 minutes, Hanlon blazing wide from range and Nisbet had another goal chalked off by the referee after he had headed home.

[It was a tough second-half for Saints]

on 63 minutes Jack Ross subbed Jamie Murphy on for Paul McGinn in a clear statement of attacking intent, St. Johnstone had a tough 30 minutes ahead.

After Nisebt backheeled the ball into substitute Murphy, a world-class Clark save was all that kept Saints in the lead. A big let-off.

Scott Allan was then introduced for Hibs on the 70-minute mark.

Clark made yet another top save from Doig, preventing a certain goal smartly with his feet. Hibs were getting closer and closer.

And then the equaliser came on 83 minutes, with some nice one-touch football on show from 'Hibs' in the build-up with Nisbet finishing the move with a curled first-time strike from just inside the area, leaving Clark with no chance. St. Johnstone 1-1 Hibernian.

Hibs nearly took the lead only a minute later but Murphy could not quite direct his strike on target. However, it would not be long before the ex-Rangers Winger would nudge his side in front. The goal game on 86 minutes after Allan sold MacPherson a dream with a lovely dummy before cutting it back across the face of goal for Murphy to drill home at the back post. The visitors had the lead.

[Murphy puts his side ahead]

Saints then attempted to pick themselves up and go again after a horrendous second-half showing, with Davidson's side being stuck in their own box for most of it, however, we could not manage an equaliser and we were lucky not to concede a 3rd.

Final Score: St. Johnstone 1-2 Hibernian

Another disappointing home result for Callum Davidson, with his side looking okay until being reduced to 10 men which ended the game as a contest - once Bryson went off, we showed no ambition and were waiting for the final whistle to blow. That may be one of the worst halves of football I have seen Saints play.

There is a real discipline issue in the squad, we can't afford to be picking up so many unnecessary bookings - the squad is thin as it is and it is having a real effect on results. You can't afford to go down to 10 men when you are desperate for points. Referee Euan Anderson had a poor performance however, that had no real bearing on the game as frankly; we weren't good enough.

The games come thick and fast and St. Johnstone need to dust themselves off for a huge doubleheader in the next week - with Dundee and Ross County coming up, 2 massive games which could define our season.

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