Joe Shaughnessy’s late winner consigned Neil Lennon’s side to their first Premiership defeat at Easter Road in almost a year.
The last one came at the hands of Rangers on 13 December but this time it was St Johnstone who grabbed all three points, to leapfrog them in the standings and underline their status as the club’s bogey team.
Hibs have enjoyed just one win in the last eight head to heads with St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright and his players apparently having the measure of the Leithers. It was a disappointment for the home team and their management staff, who described it as one of the worst home performances of their tenure, but it proved that the Perth players have rediscovered their mojo in the wake of last month’s 6-0 mauling by Celtic.
Since then they have won four on the bounce, scoring 12 goals and conceding none, edging their way up the league standings and doing so in a way that proves they are more than simply a well-drilled and dogged outfit.
They have something about them and whether it was the youthful verve of players like Tristan Nydam or the more experienced creative threat posed by substitute Danny Swanson, who gave them fresh impetus when he came on, there is composure and intent in their passages of play.
They also have players willing to work with and for each other, in part thanks to the frank debate that followed the Celtic trouncing.
“I just think we have come together as a team,” said Ross Callachan, pictured. “That day against Celtic was embarrassing. Nobody wanted to leave the changing room. We sat as a team and had a right good discussion. Everyone was involved and we sorted everything out and since then we have come together. We have been brilliant ever since. There’s a lot of character in that dressing room and we got what we deserved from this game. It would not have been a bad point if we had drawn but to nick it at the end made it all the sweeter.”
They had already been denied by the crossbar when Nydam had a dig in the first half and then Swanson came on and earned a penalty in the second but was left with his head in his hands when Hibs keeper Adam Bogdan saved.
Hibs, who had been short of ideas on how to break down Saints all afternoon, then began to run out of steam as well, and Saints capitalised when Shaughnessy rose to head home David Wotherspoon’s free-kick.
“We are really disappointed at losing our first game at home in 2018, that’s something we’ve been really proud of,” said striker Jamie Maclaren, who described the performance as “very frustrating and disappointing from start to finish”.
“We didn’t really have much conviction, which isn’t like us,” added the Aussie, “but we have to move on, pick ourselves up and get ready for Aberdeen.”