Hibs 1 - 2 St Mirren: Hibees form run continues

Had Hibernian displayed the kind of conviction that head coach Neil Lennon evinced after the game, their name would have gone into the Irn-Bru Cup quarter-final draw at the expense of St Mirren.

St Mirren's Stephen Mallan (centre) celebrates scoring the equaliser. Picture: SNS

Instead, Lennon was left to lament his side’s ‘amateur’ defending, and accused some of his players of ‘hiding’ amid a largely insipid display as they crashed out of the tournament in a 2-1 defeat.

The Leith side gone ahead courtesy of Alex Harris’ 37th-minute strike before Stevie Mallan netted a stunning free-kick, which Lennon thought should not have been awarded in the first place, four minutes later.

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The hosts had enjoyed their best period in the game prior to David Clarkson climbing off the bench to net an 82nd minute winner after Hibs captain David Gray ceded possession.

Hibs are now without a win in their last four matches and Lennon was less then impressed.

“We’re losing to St Mirren at home and that shouldn’t be happening,” said an exasperated Lennon, pictured right. “I think some of them are hiding at the minute. It’s definitely a psychological thing, it’s not a physical thing.

“In the main, I’m not getting what I want from the players so that’s something I need to address.

“It (the winning goal) should never get to that position in the first place. It’s nonsense from us, it’s amateur stuff and it needs to stop.

“It’s senior players as well with no thought about what they’re doing. Maybe I need to look at myself and ask what I’m doing wrong but we train them as well as we can.”

Only 4,393 fans attended this match and the lack of interest was matched by a supine performance from the hosts during much of the first half.

But it was Hibs that broke the deadlock out of nothing through Harris. Making only his third appearance of the campaign, the winger cut inside the prostrate Kyle Hutton after the St Mirren midfielder slipped before drilling a shot past Jamie Langield at the near post from 12 yards.

St Mirren levelled in controversial circumstances, although there was no doubting the brilliance exhibited by Mallan as he swept a 25-yard free kick into the top corner.

Hibs were aggrieved at the award of the foul in the first place after Dylan McGeouch was penalised for obstruction, even though Rocco Quinn appeared to lose control of the ball.

Following what was doubtless a few choice words at half-time from Lennon, Hibs improved after the break and created a series of chances.

James Keatings shot over when he should have scored after connecting with a low Gray cross at the back post before McGeouch crashed a shot off the upright.

Langfield then pulled off a good save to deny Harris a second after the winger cushioned a volley towards goal from Fraser Fyvie’s ball over the top.

As extra-time loomed, Saints scored what proved to be the winner in the 82nd minute.

The ball broke to substitute Clarkson inside the area and his deflected shot rolled into the corner of the net, with Lawrence Shankland following the effort in.

Assistant referee Brian Templeton had flagged for offside but withdrew his decision after realising that Shankland had not touched the ball before it crossed the line.

Jack Ross will take over the reigns officially tomorrow after working his noticed period at Alloa and caretaker manager Allan McManus insists he will inherit a squad that is on a high.

McManus said: “The best thing was for the boys to get a result then it gives the team and the club the confidence to move forward when the manager comes in on Monday, everyone will have a spring in their step.”