Hibs secured their first home league win since February with a battling performance against St Johnstone.

Ivan Sproule's 17th-minute strike was cancelled out by a Liam Craig drive two minutes later.

Garry O'Connor continued his rich vein of form with a low shot before the interval, then added another from the penalty spot after the hour mark.

A late shot from Cillian Sheridan gave St Johnstone a ray of hope, but Hibs held out to claim three crucial points.

The win edges Hibs on to nine points alongside Dunfermline and leaves St Johnstone in fifth place on 12 points, level with Hearts and St Mirren.

Jody Morris returned to the St Johnstone team after overcoming a hamstring injury to replace Willie Gibson in the only change from the side that beat Hearts on Sunday.

Hibs striker Leigh Griffiths shook off a foot knock to keep his place while Ivan Sproule came in for David Wotherspoon.

Sproule's emphatic finish handed the hosts the lead in the 17th minute, blasting into the back of the St Johnstone net after good work by Junior Agogo.

Saints could have gone ahead on the half-hour mark after Agogo lost the ball to Morris inside his own half. Morris fed Francisco Sandaza, who turned Sean O'Hanlon one way and another but slipped the ball inches wide of the far post with his left foot.

Two minutes later, St Johnstone's Liam Craig replied with a right-footed shot that struck the inside of the Hibs post and rattled off the inside netting.

Sproule's pace took him past Mackay and into a great position at the other end following Isaiah Osbourne's pass, but he elected to cross when he had little support and had a reasonable angle.

Hibs were soon back in front as O'Connor continued his hot goalscoring streak in the 37th minute.

The forward was outnumbered in the box but the ball broke invitingly for him and he shot powerfully low into the net from 16 yards.

The visitors pushed for an equaliser before the break when Graham Stack was forced off his line to block from Sandaza following Cillian Sheridan's through-ball and then got down well to push past Craig's powerful 25-yard drive.

O'Connor went close again with another left-footed drive from inside the box but Saints keeper Peter Enckelman parried.

But the Scotland international handed Hibs a half-time lead with eight minutes of the half remaining, driving low into the bottom of the St Johnstone net.

With 15 minutes of the second half played, O'Connor extended Hibs' lead and doubled his personal tally for the evening from the penalty spot after being fouled in the area by St Johnstone's David McCracken.

A defensive mistake by St Johnstone's Dave MacKay almost killed off the match, but Enckelman was quick off his line and swept up the mess.

With two minutes of the match remaining, Sheridan shrugged his way through the hosts' defence and finished off a fine effort to give the visitors a ray of hope.

A late free-kick for Saints could have salvaged a point, but Hibs managed to anxiously see out the time added on by referee Steve Conroy to secure their first home league win since February.

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