Hibernian 0-0 St Johnstone: Match Report

21 December 2013 05:31
Hibernian 0-0 St Johnstone: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game as it happened.

Battling Saints make their point

St Johnstone battled for over an hour with 10 men to claim a well-deserved point in a goalless draw at Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership.

Just seconds after replacing the injured Murray Davidson, former Hibernian midfielder Paddy Cregg was shown a straight red card for a wild two-footed challenge on Paul Cairney.

Despite their numerical advantage, the hosts struggled to break down a rigid Saints rearguard.

Hibernian enjoyed a sustained period of pressure at the start of the second half that had the visitors at full stretch but they failed to convert that dominance into a goal.

And referee Alan Muir was not interested in injury-time appeals for a penalty after the home team's striker James Collins appeared to be bundled over by Brian Easton.

The draw leaves Hibernian manager Butcher, who watched on from the stand as he served a one-match touchline ban, still searching for his first league win since replacing Pat Fenlon in the dugout.

His team had a chance to test St Johnstone goalkeeper Alan Mannus after six minutes when Chris Millar tripped Scott Robertson 30 yards from goal.

Liam Craig pushed the ball to Ryan McGivern but the defender swung a wild effort high and wide.

Hibs were enjoying the lion's share of possession in the visitors' half and got plenty of crosses into the box, but St Johnstone comfortably dealt with the danger.

Former St Johnstone playmaker Craig's corner was met by Jordan Forster but the right-back bulleted a header over the bar.

It was one-way traffic as Hibernian had St Johnstone pegged back.

Mannus was called into action in the 20th minute to palm away Cairney's fierce drive from an angle inside the area after the playmaker was teed up by Forster.

Saints were trying to get David Wotherspoon to support lone marksman Stevie May but the sought-after striker was having to feed off scraps.

Home midfielder Scott Robertson was shown a yellow card in bizarre circumstances after clearly proving that the St Johnstone wall had not retreated the proper 10 yards at a set-piece.

After Hibernian captain Craig complained about the distance between the ball and the visitors' players, Robertson measured out the gap himself and walked beyond the defensive barrier.

The official showed him a yellow card and did not move the wall back further, with a furious Craig subsequently blasting a free-kick against the Saints players.

The visitors' disciplinary issues resurfaced after Cregg, within a minute of replacing the injured Murray Davidson, was shown a straight red card for a reckless tackle on Cairney.

Just last week in the defeat to Aberdeen, forward Rory Fallon was ordered off for violent conduct just seconds after coming on as a substitute.

Despite being down to 10 men, Tommy Wright's side created their first real chance when Wotherspoon's low front post cross was hit goal-ward by a combination of Paul Hanlon and May in the 41st minute.

Ben Williams made a vital block and May's follow-up attempt was cleared.

Hibernian made a lively start to the second period to put the Perth outfit under pressure. Robertson's low cross into the box was directed towards his own goal by Gary McDonald, forcing Mannus to make a near-post save.

A well worked free-kick saw Craig set up McGivern in the box but the defender's first-time shot was deflected just over by Wotherspoon.

Hibernian introduced Kevin Thomson for Robertson and the Scotland international was involved in the build-up that culminated in James Collins teeing up Craig for a fierce long-range shot that was straight at Mannus.

The Saints goalkeeper pulled off a stunning injury-time save to claw a Collins header away following a Forster cross. And just seconds later referee Muir dismissed deafening appeals for a penalty after Easton seemed to catch Collins.

Source: PA