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Hibernian ease pressure on Nick Montgomery with win over struggling St Johnstone
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Ronnie Esplin
Press Association
Hibernian got back to winning ways for manager Nick Montgomery (Steve Welsh/PA)
Hibernian got back to winning ways for manager Nick Montgomery (Steve Welsh/PA)

Hibernian eased the pressure on Nick Montgomery with a convincing 3-1 win at St Johnstone which left the home side still with relegation concerns.

A lot of attention was on Hibs boss Montgomery after the Easter Road board publicly described his failure to lead them into the top six in the cinch Premiership as “simply unacceptable”.

However, his side responded positively in the first post-split fixture at McDiarmid Park with Emiliano Marcondes’s wonderful free-kick giving the visitors the lead after only six minutes before substitute Paul Hanlon added a second just before the break.

Second-half substitute Dylan Vente fired in a third after 76 minutes before Saints substitute Benjamin Kimpioka scored a consolation in the 89th minute for the home side.

With four matches remaining Craig Levein’s men are still just one point above Ross County in the relegation play-off spot, the Staggies losing at bottom side Livingston.

Saints were looking for their third successive win over Hibs and skipper Liam Gordon returned to the defence with Graham Carey and 16-year-old Fran Franczak also starting while, for the Edinburgh side, 37-year-old Adam Le Fondre replaced injured Elie Youan.

Hibs’ opener came after winger Martin Boyle was fouled by midfielder Dan Phillips 25 yards from goal, between the posts.

Danish attacking midfielder Marcondes, on loan from Bournemouth, took his time before curling his perfect free-kick past diving Saints keeper Dimitar Mitov and into the top corner.

The home side had a great chance to level minutes later when Marcondes lost possession in the middle of the pitch but Hibs keeper David Marshall blocked Adama Sidibeh’s shot.

Then Marcondes set up Myziane Maolida inside the box at the other end and his shot was tipped onto the bar and over by Mitov.

In the 35th minute Maolida was brought down just outside the penalty area by Perth defender Ryan McGowan and a VAR check ruled out a possible penalty but this time Marcondes fired the free-kick over the bar, before Boyle ended a lengthy, driving run by flicking the ball straight at Mitov.

However, after St Johnstone failed to clear from a long Joe Newell throw-in, the ball fell to Hanlon, on for Will Fish midway through the first half, and at the second attempt he knocked it in from 12 yards, his first goal since May 2023.

The Perth men’s response after the break lacked real conviction and in the 54th minute Phillips had to clear a shot from Maolida off the line after the Leith side had countered with pace and purpose.

Mitov produced a fine save from Marcondes’s drive as Hibs threatened again, initially through Maolida.

The game stretched further with Hibs a regular threat and, minutes after coming off the bench, Josh Campbell and Vente combined with the latter racing clear of the Saints defence to latch on to a header and confidently nestle the ball behind Mitov.

The Saints keeper made a good save from Campbell in the 86th minute before Kimpioka, on for Sidibeh, converted from close range.


Scottish PremiershipHibernianSt. Johnstone
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