St Mirren 1-2 Hibernian: Report
Griffiths brace helps Hibs land first victory
Pat Fenlon's new-look Hibernian claimed their first win of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League season with a 2-1 triumph at St Mirren.
A goal in either half from Leigh Griffiths gave them a two-goal lead but the Edinburgh side had to withstand a fightback from Saints, who couldn't add to Steven Thompson's goal.
However, the hosts were perhaps made to rue their penalty miss, with Paul McGowan's first-half spot-kick saved by Hibernian keeper Ben Williams.
St Mirren kicked off sharing top spot in the Premier League and immediately put the visitors' defence under threat.
James McPake looked unsteady taking two clumsy attempts to clear the ball from his own box in the opening minutes.
The Edinburgh side produced the first strike at goal, though, when Paul Cairney, released by Saints as a teenager, almost made a painful return to his hometown but his 20-yard drive went a couple of feet wide of the post.
McGowan was on target at the other end but it was straight at Ben Williams in the Hibs goal.
On a perfect pitch both teams were prepared to engage in slick passing moves as the action moved quickly from end to end.
Hibs opened the scoring in the 15th minute when a glorious cross-field pass from David Wotherspoon picked out Griffiths.
Although the on-loan Wolves striker seemed to lose possession to Marc McAusland he retrieved the ball and from the corner of the penalty box drove a low shot across Craig Samson's goal to nestle inside the keeper's left-hand post.
The Saints goal had a narrow escape after 34 minutes when Griffiths' inswinging corner was glanced on by Tim Clancy but the ball flew across the face of the goal with no takers.
Ten minutes from half-time the Paisley side passed up a gift to level the scores.
Dougie Imrie's cross deflected off Clancy to spin high into the air. When it dropped between Parkin and McPake it appeared to roll off the defender's arm providing Saints with a soft penalty.
However, McGowan's spot-kick was equally soft, low to the keeper's right allowing Williams the chance to dive and palm the ball away.
Five minutes later it was the turn of his opposite number to make a stunning save as Samson reacted well to block a point blank downward header from Eoin Doyle.
Saints restarted the second half with Jon Robertson and Gary Teale replacing Graham Carey and Jim Goodwin.
In a bright restart, McGowan almost redeemed himself with a turn and shot which was not far off target.
There was a blow for the home side on the hour mark when Williams rose to collect a Teale free-kick and clattered in to Darren McGregor.
After some lengthy treatment he was then carried off and replaced by David Barron.
A minute later and before the Saints' defence could reorganise Hibs doubled their lead.
Doyle cut in from the right before feeding the ball to Griffiths, who from 10 yards turned and rifled a low shot into the corner of the net.
It took the Buddies less than two minutes to respond, Imrie driving his cross low across goal allowing Thompson to stab the ball over the line from a couple of yards.
Fifteen minutes from time Griffiths was narrowly denied his hat-trick when his 25-yard free kick bounced off the crossbar.
It was then left to Williams to preserve the visitors' lead when he blocked Thompson's thumping drive.
In the six minutes of added time due to McGregor's injury Saints pressed for the equaliser but Thompson's header from Teale's cross bounced narrowly wide.
St Mirren 1-2 Hibernian: Match Report - view commentary, squad, and statictics of the game as it happened.
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