Scottish Premiership
HibernianHibernian4St JohnstoneSt Johnstone0

Hibernian 4-0 St Johnstone: Perth side go into Scottish Premiership play-offs after defeat

By Andrew PetrieBBC Sport Scotland
Having scored his first Hibs goal in midweek, James Scott added three against St Johnstone
Having scored his first Hibs goal in midweek, James Scott added a hat-trick against St Johnstone

St Johnstone will head into the Scottish Premiership play-offs after ending the league season with an abject defeat at the hands of Hibernian.

Callum Davidson said the game was "irrelevant" and his side were overwhelmed as Paul McGinn's effort and a James Scott hat-trick secured Hibs' first home win since February and ensured they finish the season eighth.

The Perth side now prepare to face Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Friday and next Monday as they bid to retain their top-flight status.

"It's a huge game," said Davidson. "We've got more to lose than Inverness. We've been fighting and working towards staying in the league. I have five or six more boys back in the squad on Friday. I'm positive going into it.

"[The fans] have been behind us the majority of the time since January. We need the support. We have to be at our best, with the backing of the supporters away and at home."

Six changes to the starting line-up meant Davidson's pre-match comments came as little surprise. Goalkeeper Zander Clark was left out of the squad entirely while captain Liam Gordon was on the bench.

It seemed his mind games might have worked for the majority of the first half. St Johnstone had the better of it, finding pockets of space in Hibs territory and passing it around nicely, but there was little to threaten Matt Macey's goal.

Josh Doig had a good chance to open the scoring for Hibs when he connected with Joe Newell's cross, but the full-back poked wide from six yards.

Hibs would take their next chance, though. After a corner was cleared, Elias Melkersen nodded back into the area and Ryan Porteous and McGinn both swung at it. The strike ended up in the net, with both defenders wheeling away taking the acclaim.

That goal came a minute before half-time, and the next would come three minutes after the break.

A cross was whipped in from the right, with the ball bouncing off the thigh of the unsuspecting Scott, who found himself on the scoresheet for the second time in two games having failed to find the net since joining on loan from Hull City until midweek.

Scott meant his second goal and Hibs' third, though. Again, Hibs exploited the right flank with Harry Clarke slipping Newell in. His low cross found Scott, who did well to make a yard of space for himself and roll underneath Elliot Parish.

Hibs should have had a fourth soon after. Scott was set free, shifting the ball on to his left and firing at goal. Parish did well to save but the ball fell kindly to Melkersen, who managed to divert wide of an open goal for a miss of the season candidate.

Scott completed the rout with a header across the goalkeeper two minutes from time though, to make sure he would take the match ball home.

Man of the match - James Scott

James Scott saved his best Hibs performance for last
Scott saved his best Hibs performance for what is likely to be his last game

What did we learn?

St Johnstone's first-half performance might have given their fans confidence. Their second-half showing would have left them with none.

Although Davidson was keen to downplay the importance of this match, it will undoubtedly be a blow to morale to see his squad swept aside so easily by a much-maligned Hibs team.

The Perth side created a handful of chances but barely looked like scoring - a problem that has plagued them all season and looks unlikely to change.

The Hibs fans will have taken some encouragement from a clinical performance, albeit with a departing player to the fore.

Four debutants - all aged 17 - provide hope for the future. Jacob Blaney, Oscar MacIntyre, Murray Aiken and Robbie Hamilton will all remember this day forever.

What they said

Hibernian interim manager David Gray: "[It was] nice to go and win the game and end the season as positive as we can. It was a funny game. We found ourselves 1-0 up when St Johnstone were the better side in the first half.

"At the top end of the pitch, we've needed to be more clinical all season. We only had six shots on target today but managed to score four goals. All in it was good to send the fans home happy."

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson: "It's an exercise for the players who haven't been playing. It was really good to get them a game but they really tired.

"We started the game really well, played a lot of good football. Then we started to become a bit sloppy and gave away a really poor goal before half-time. One straight after half-time and then we managed the situation to make sure everyone was okay and protect the players before Friday."

What's next?

While Hibs turn their attention to finding a new manager, St Johnstone prepare to face Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the play-off final double leg. The first leg is on Friday, 20 May (19:45 BST) with highlights on BBC Scotland from 22:30.

Player of the match

HamiltonRobbie Hamilton

with an average of 7.91

Hibernian

  1. Squad number48Player nameHamilton
    Average rating

    7.91

  2. Squad number49Player nameMacIntyre
    Average rating

    7.86

  3. Squad number36Player nameDelferriere
    Average rating

    7.82

  4. Squad number46Player nameBlaney
    Average rating

    7.76

  5. Squad number47Player nameAiken
    Average rating

    7.60

  6. Squad number25Player nameScott
    Average rating

    7.46

  7. Squad number24Player nameMcGregor
    Average rating

    6.95

  8. Squad number3Player nameDoig
    Average rating

    6.95

  9. Squad number2Player nameClarke
    Average rating

    6.83

  10. Squad number16Player nameStevenson
    Average rating

    6.80

  11. Squad number5Player namePorteous
    Average rating

    6.77

  12. Squad number6Player nameMcGinn
    Average rating

    6.70

  13. Squad number80Player nameHenderson
    Average rating

    6.60

  14. Squad number11Player nameNewell
    Average rating

    6.56

  15. Squad number34Player nameMelkersen
    Average rating

    6.48

  16. Squad number1Player nameMacey
    Average rating

    6.46

St Johnstone

  1. Squad number16Player nameMahon
    Average rating

    5.81

  2. Squad number15Player nameGilmour
    Average rating

    5.76

  3. Squad number19Player nameRooney
    Average rating

    5.64

  4. Squad number27Player nameSang
    Average rating

    5.48

  5. Squad number4Player nameMcCart
    Average rating

    5.47

  6. Squad number14Player nameMiddleton
    Average rating

    5.33

  7. Squad number34Player nameButterfield
    Average rating

    5.32

  8. Squad number26Player nameCraig
    Average rating

    5.00

  9. Squad number5Player nameCleary
    Average rating

    4.69

  10. Squad number11Player nameO'Halloran
    Average rating

    4.52

  11. Squad number18Player nameMacPherson
    Average rating

    4.50

  12. Squad number6Player nameGordon
    Average rating

    4.36

  13. Squad number23Player nameÇiftçi
    Average rating

    4.35

  14. Squad number12Player nameParish
    Average rating

    4.13

Line-ups

Hibernian

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 1Macey
  • 6McGinnSubstituted forBlaneyat 85'minutes
  • 24McGregorBooked at 54mins
  • 5PorteousSubstituted forMacIntyreat 77'minutes
  • 2ClarkeSubstituted forAikenat 67'minutes
  • 11Newell
  • 16Stevenson
  • 3Doig
  • 80HendersonSubstituted forDelferriereat 85'minutes
  • 34MelkersenSubstituted forHamiltonat 76'minutes
  • 25Scott

Substitutes

  • 20Jasper
  • 21Dabrowski
  • 32Campbell
  • 33Bushiri
  • 36Delferriere
  • 46Blaney
  • 47Aiken
  • 48Hamilton
  • 49MacIntyre

St Johnstone

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 12Parish
  • 5Cleary
  • 16MahonSubstituted forO'Halloranat 57'minutes
  • 4McCart
  • 19RooneyBooked at 55minsSubstituted forGordonat 76'minutes
  • 15GilmourBooked at 58mins
  • 34ButterfieldSubstituted forCraigat 76'minutes
  • 27Sang
  • 18MacPherson
  • 14Middleton
  • 23Çiftçi

Substitutes

  • 2Brown
  • 6Gordon
  • 11O'Halloran
  • 20Sinclair
  • 22Hendry
  • 26Craig
  • 29Hallberg
Referee:
David Dickinson
Attendance:
14,233

Match Stats

Home TeamHibernianAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home47%
Away53%
Shots
Home14
Away11
Shots on Target
Home6
Away4
Corners
Home4
Away6
Fouls
Home11
Away11

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Hibernian 4, St. Johnstone 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Hibernian 4, St. Johnstone 0.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Glenn Middleton (St. Johnstone).

  4. Post update

    Josh Doig (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Goal!

    Goal! Hibernian 4, St. Johnstone 0. James Scott (Hibernian) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Josh Doig with a cross.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Cameron MacPherson (St. Johnstone).

  7. Post update

    James Scott (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Darren McGregor.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Hibernian. Jacob Blaney replaces Paul McGinn.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Hibernian. Allan Delferriere replaces Ewan Henderson.

  11. Post update

    Daniel Cleary (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Murray Aiken (Hibernian).

  13. Post update

    Offside, St. Johnstone. Daniel Cleary tries a through ball, but Nadir Çiftçi is caught offside.

  14. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Murray Aiken (Hibernian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Charlie Gilmour (St. Johnstone).

  16. Post update

    Ewan Henderson (Hibernian) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Liam Craig.

  18. Post update

    Attempt saved. Charlie Gilmour (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Daniel Cleary.

  19. Post update

    Liam Craig (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Murray Aiken (Hibernian).

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic38296392227093
2Rangers38278380314989
3Hearts3817101154441061
4Dundee Utd381212143744-748
5Motherwell381210164261-1946
6Ross County381011174761-1441
7Livingston381310154146-549
8Hibernian381112153842-445
9St Mirren381014143351-1844
10Aberdeen381011174146-541
11St Johnstone38811192451-2735
12Dundee38611213464-3029
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