Scottish Premiership
HibernianHibernian2St JohnstoneSt Johnstone2

Hibernian 2-2 St Johnstone: Edinburgh side's season 'can tip either way' - Jack Ross

By Clive LindsayBBC Sport Scotland

Hibernian are at tipping point after only one win in five games following a good start to the season, head coach Jack Ross said after their 2-2 draw at home to St Johnstone.

Ross' men came from behind twice with a double from defender Paul McGinn to move third in the Scottish Premiership.

Ali McCann and former Hibs midfielder David Wotherspoon scored for Saints.

"I would describe it as a good season at the moment, but it can tip either way," Ross told BBC Scotland.

"We need to get it back to being a very good season. We need to have that ambition to win every game at Easter Road and the expectation to go and win it."

While Hibs move above Aberdeen, who play Hamilton Academical on Wednesday, on goal difference after stretching their unbeaten home run to six games, they have failed to defeat St Johnstone in their last six visits to Easter Road.

Gathering another point in Leith not only moves the Perth side above Motherwell into seventh but stretches their unbeaten league run to five outings.

Ross, perhaps not surprisingly, had stuck with the line-up that went so close to beating Celtic on Saturday, but it was a different story for counterpart Callum Davidson.

Defender Jason Kerr, an ever-present this season, and influential midfielders Murray Davidson and Craig Conway missed out through injury as the stretched visitors only named six players on their bench.

Being the more-settled side looked to favour Hibs in the early moments as Jamie Murphy broke into the penalty box and fired straight at goalkeeper Zander Clark.

However, the visitors settled and perhaps only a lack of match sharpness prevented Guy Melamed opening the scoring.

The Israeli striker, making his first league start since his switch from Maccabi Netanya, showed neat footwork to deceive a couple of defenders inside the penalty box but shot over.

Michael O'Halloran fired just wide before Hibs lost centre-half Paul Hanlon to injury and St Johnstone took the lead when Stevie May forced a deflection off substitute Darren McGregor and Northern Ireland midfielder McCann pounced to side-foot home from 15 yards.

Hibs were level within 60 seconds as a ricochet at the other end gave Kevin Nisbet the chance to set up defender McGinn to fire in off the far post.

Nisbet and Joe Newell both missed the target and Murphy shot straight at Clark from good positions inside the visitors' six-yard box before Wotherspoon threatened to win it for St Johnstone with a thrusting run and finish from the edge of the penalty area.

However, McGinn's powerful effort denied the Perth side a fourth consecutive away win and ensured a fifth game against the visitors without defeat, as the symmetry of neither side having beaten the other at home in nine meetings since 2014 was preserved.

Man of the match - Jamie Murphy

St Johnstone's Danny McNamara and Hibs' Jamie Murphy
St Johnstone's Danny McNamara and Jamie Murphy both impressed in their head to head, but the Hibs winger just edged it and was a constant threat

What did we learn?

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard said before his side entertained Aberdeen on Sunday that we could not rule the Pittodrie side and Hibs out of the title race, but after Rangers won 4-0 and Hibs suffered this latest home stumble, it seems we can.

Hibs are more realistically involved in a head to head with Aberdeen for third and, although they have now only lost twice in 11 outings, Ross' side have only won once in five and are level with their rivals having played two games more.

While Hibs' challenge is stalling, St Johnstone appear to be on the march and, after again proving to be a thorn in the Edinburgh outfit's side - despite injuries to key players - must be viewing a top-six finish as a realistic target.

What did they say?

Hibs 'have become too easy to score against' - Ross

Hibernian head coach Jack Ross: "The positives were the character the players showed being behind twice and coming back into it and the attacking play at times was good. But we've become a little bit easy to score against. We need to show more hunger to keep the ball out."

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson: "When you go 2-1 up with 20 minutes to go, you're hoping to see the game out. Hibs played some really good stuff. I think at stages we both played well, we both defended poorly, very similar.

"I thought the effort tonight was magnificent. We're four players down in a small squad."

Davidson 'disappointed' by St Johnstone concessions

What's next?

Both sides are in League Cup second round action on Saturday as Hibs look to repeat their 4-1 group win at home to Dundee (15:00 GMT), while St Johnstone visit Motherwell (15:00) in a reverse of venue after Sunday's 1-1 Premiership draw.

Hibs next visit Motherwell in the league on 5 December, with St Johnstone visiting Celtic the following day.

Player of the match

McCannAlistair McCann

with an average of 7.93

Hibernian

  1. Squad number6Player nameMcGinn
    Average rating

    6.88

  2. Squad number18Player nameMurphy
    Average rating

    6.78

  3. Squad number1Player nameMarciano
    Average rating

    6.10

  4. Squad number15Player nameNisbet
    Average rating

    5.69

  5. Squad number26Player nameMackie
    Average rating

    5.51

  6. Squad number13Player nameGogic
    Average rating

    5.47

  7. Squad number5Player namePorteous
    Average rating

    5.40

  8. Squad number11Player nameNewell
    Average rating

    5.30

  9. Squad number10Player nameBoyle
    Average rating

    5.05

  10. Squad number24Player nameMcGregor
    Average rating

    4.97

  11. Squad number9Player nameDoidge
    Average rating

    4.92

  12. Squad number14Player nameMallan
    Average rating

    4.84

  13. Squad number4Player nameHanlon
    Average rating

    4.53

  14. Squad number19Player nameGullan
    Average rating

    4.47

St Johnstone

  1. Squad number18Player nameMcCann
    Average rating

    7.93

  2. Squad number4Player nameMcCart
    Average rating

    7.71

  3. Squad number14Player nameMay
    Average rating

    7.29

  4. Squad number15Player nameMcNamara
    Average rating

    7.16

  5. Squad number17Player nameMelamed
    Average rating

    7.15

  6. Squad number10Player nameWotherspoon
    Average rating

    7.07

  7. Squad number19Player nameRooney
    Average rating

    7.06

  8. Squad number3Player nameTanser
    Average rating

    6.88

  9. Squad number11Player nameO'Halloran
    Average rating

    6.88

  10. Squad number26Player nameCraig
    Average rating

    6.85

  11. Squad number6Player nameGordon
    Average rating

    6.77

  12. Squad number1Player nameClark
    Average rating

    6.57

  13. Squad number9Player nameKane
    Average rating

    5.68

Line-ups

Hibernian

Formation 4-5-1

  • 1Marciano
  • 6McGinn
  • 5Porteous
  • 4HanlonSubstituted forMcGregorat 21'minutesBooked at 70mins
  • 26Mackie
  • 10Boyle
  • 14Mallan
  • 13GogicSubstituted forDoidgeat 56'minutes
  • 11Newell
  • 18Murphy
  • 15NisbetSubstituted forGullanat 83'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Gray
  • 8Wright
  • 9Doidge
  • 19Gullan
  • 20Hallberg
  • 22McGinn
  • 24McGregor
  • 25Doig
  • 33Barnes

St Johnstone

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 1Clark
  • 19Rooney
  • 6Gordon
  • 4McCart
  • 15McNamara
  • 26Craig
  • 18McCann
  • 3Tanser
  • 17MelamedSubstituted forWotherspoonat 61'minutes
  • 11O'Halloran
  • 14MaySubstituted forKaneat 87'minutes

Substitutes

  • 9Kane
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 12Parish
  • 22Hendry
  • 24Booth
  • 46Ferguson
Referee:
Kevin Clancy

Match Stats

Home TeamHibernianAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home65%
Away35%
Shots
Home11
Away12
Shots on Target
Home4
Away3
Corners
Home4
Away4
Fouls
Home10
Away8

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Hibernian 2, St. Johnstone 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Hibernian 2, St. Johnstone 2.

  3. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Stephen Mallan.

  4. Post update

    Attempt blocked. David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

  5. Substitution

    Substitution, St. Johnstone. Christopher Kane replaces Stevie May.

  6. Post update

    Hand ball by Shaun Rooney (St. Johnstone).

  7. Post update

    Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Scott Tanser.

  8. Substitution

    Substitution, Hibernian. James Gullan replaces Kevin Nisbet.

  9. Goal!

    Goal! Hibernian 2, St. Johnstone 2. Paul McGinn (Hibernian) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom left corner.

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Stevie May (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by David Wotherspoon with a cross.

  11. Goal!

    Goal! Hibernian 1, St. Johnstone 2. David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Alistair McCann.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Joe Newell (Hibernian).

  13. Post update

    Liam Craig (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jamie Murphy (Hibernian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Martin Boyle with a cross.

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Alistair McCann (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right.

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

  17. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Joe Newell.

  18. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Scott Tanser (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  19. Booking

    Darren McGregor (Hibernian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Darren McGregor (Hibernian).

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As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Rangers1513204133841
2Celtic1393134132130
3Hibernian157532116526
4Aberdeen138231915426
5Dundee Utd155551218-620
6Kilmarnock145271816217
7St Johnstone154471319-616
8Motherwell134361518-315
9Ross County153481026-1613
10Livingston153391424-1012
11St Mirren12327715-811
12Hamilton1321101435-217
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