Hibernian 3-3 St Mirren: Match Report
Hibernian 3-3 St Mirren: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game as it happened.
Saints not safe yet
Leigh Griffiths' late equaliser for Hibernian against St Mirren means the Buddies face another anxious wait before they can confirm their Clydesdale Bank Premier League survival following a 3-3 draw.
The Paisley outfit's draw at Easter Road leaves them just eight points clear of bottom club Dundee after John Brown's side beat Hearts at Dens Park.
However, victory over the Jambos at Tynecastle next Saturday will be enough to confirm an eighth successive season of top-flight football next term.
Griffiths, who had struck five goals in the sides' first three meetings this term, opened the scoring after 31 minutes with a sensational effort into the top corner but Saints levelled through Portuguese attacker Esmael Goncalves on the hour mark.
Hibs striker Ross Caldwell had the home side ahead again on 68 minutes but two headers from Marc McAusland had the Buddies on the verge of safety with just eight minutes remaining.
However Griffiths, who heads back to parent club Wolves in the summer, ensures he leaves with the curses of Saints fans ringing in his ears following his equaliser four minutes from time.
While the final scoreline told the story of a six-goal thriller, the opening quarter hour was a drab affair with only a few half chances notable among a series of misplaced passes from two off-key sides.
The entertainment-starved crowd had to wait until a minute before the half-hour mark for their first genuine goalmouth incident as the home side's Jorge Claros held off Paul McGowan to play in Griffiths, but Craig Samson was down smartly to block his low shot.
However, Griffiths soon presented the Leith supporters with something to really feast on as he blasted home a delicious opener.
Claros and Danny Handling combined in midfield before the latter fed the ball wide to the on-loan Wolves striker. Griffiths drove inside before smashing past Samson at his near post.
Just before the break Doyle fluffed a decent chance when picked out inside the box by handling, while David Van Zanten bravely blocked a shot six minutes after the restart.
Claros was involved once again in the build-up to Hibs next chance on 53 minutes, rolling a low pass for Handling but the winger put his shot from the edge of the box wide of Samson's right-hand upright.
The lines of communication from Dens Park would have informed Lennon that Dundee were putting pressure on a Hearts side reduced to 10 men and that something more forceful was required if they were to finally put down the Dark Blues' resistance.
That extra firepower arrived in the shape of Sam Parkin as the English target man replaced John McGinn. But before he had even touched the ball, Goncalves struck to level.
The Portuguese attacker had a fresh air swipe at Gary Teale's low centre but when Hibs failed to clear Steven Thompson's attempt from the loose ball, Goncalves fired past Ben Williams at the near post.
Parkin was soon in the mix, though, bringing out a fine stop from Williams as he curled a left-footed shot towards the top corner from 15 yards out.
The Paisley side's start to the game had been muted but Teale almost gave them something to really shout about when he skipped past both Handling and Ryan McGivern before lashing a ball across goal, which Thompson just failed to turn into the Hibs net.
Where chances had been a rarity in the first half, they were now raining down.
Pat Fenlon had just introduced Ross Caldwell for Doyle and the substitute striker took less than a minute to introduce himself as he struck a low drive into the corner of the net from Griffiths' assist.
But Saints were desperate to keep their survival chances in their own hands and pushed forward.
Hibs first escaped unscathed following a couple of dodgy bounces in the box as skipper James McPake and then keeper Williams were almost caught out.
But the visitors did level on 77 minutes as McGowan floated a cross to the back post which Thompson could only redirect across the area. Intentional or not, his intervention was perfect for McAusland, who looped his own header over Williams' reach and into the net.
And just as news of a Dundee goal arrived at Easter Road, Saints struck again. Teale had switched to the left-hand side but was just as effective as he picked out McAusland again, who sneaked a second header over the line.
St Mirren could almost touch safety but David Wotherspoon played in Tom Taiwo in the box and the midfielder dropped a shoulder before picking out Griffiths to net again at the back post and send Paisley nerves jangling for another week.
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