Hibs 2 - 2 St Mirren: Winless run continues for Lennon’s side

Hibs striker Oli Shaw scores his side's first equaliser on the night. Picture: SNS
Hibs striker Oli Shaw scores his side's first equaliser on the night. Picture: SNS
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It was a moment of sheer brilliance that deserved a better end result. Nevertheless, St Mirren forward Adam Hammill’s strike from inside his own half was undoubtedly the highlight from this absorbing 2-2 stalemate.

The playmaker left Hibs goalkeeper Adam Bogdan red-faced after just six minutes with a breathtaking strike and then produced the free-kick that forced Efe Ambrose into an own goal after Oli Shaw bought the hosts level after the break.

Neil Lennon’s side, who are now without a victory in seven straight matches, responded again as Ryan Porteous secured a draw when he headed in Stevie Mallan’s corner in the 72nd minute.

The night, however, belonged to Hammill and this point for the Premiership strugglers could prove crucial come the end of the season.

Hibs head coach Neil Lennon’s response to the defeat at Kilmarnock at the weekend was to make five changes for the visit of the Buddies. Marvin Bartley, Daryl Horgan, Lewis Stevenson, Oli Shaw and Charalampos Mavrias, who made his debut, were all promoted to the starting line-up.

One notable absentee from the Hibs squad was defender Paul Hanlon, who had only just returned to fitness following two months on the sidelines with a thigh complaint.

Saints were as equally exasperated by their form. Hopes that they had finally turned the corner following a two-game unbeaten run were dashed in Saturday’s defeat at home to Hamilton.

A nondescript beginning to the match gave way to another blockbuster strike from Hammill. The former Wolves and Dunfermline playmaker spotted that Bogdan had wandered off his line and lifted an incredible 50-yard shot from beside the centre circle over the despairing Hibs goalkeeper to open the scoring.

Bogdan should have known better after seeing his Hearts counterpart Zdenek Zlamal being beaten by a 40-yard effort by Hammill in Saints’ victory over the Tynecastle side just 11 days earlier.

The fog that descended on Easter Road matched the gloomy mood of the natives as the home side’s nightmare spell continued.

Martin Boyle tried and failed to change that when he volleyed wide from 18 yards moments later after Saints goalkeeper Danny Rogers could only push out a cross straight to the Australian internationalist.

Hibs were struggling for ideas but lifted the tempo half through the first period. Stevie Mallan did well to create room inside the box but dragged a shot well wide of Rogers’ goal.

A flowing move in the 27th minute then ended with Flo Kamberi’s pass across goal falling to Lewis Stevenson at the corner of the box but the Hibs left-back’s rising strike was expertly pushed behind by Rogers.

Even at this stage of the game, it appeared that Saints were content to try and protect their lead, with Lee Hodson dropping at right-back to become part of a five-man defensive unit.

However, Hibs were level in the 56th minute courtesy of Shaw. Boyle utilised his pace to great effect to race into the box and sprayed a pass across the six yard box to leave Shaw with a simple tap in.

That was just the start of a manic spell. St Mirren restored their slender lead after Ambrose headed a Hammill’s free-kick into his own net in the 67th minute.

The Paisley side once again had three points in their sights but Porteous rose high inside the box to head Mallan’s corner into the net five minutes later.

Hibs piled on the pressure but, in the end, both teams had to settle for a share of the spoils.