Goals from Niall McGinn, Josh Mulligan and Charlie Adam secured McGhee’s first win as Dees manager at the 13th attempt and asked the question of Saints, who are three points clear of bottom-placed Dundee. Avoiding defeat against Aberdeen would condemn their Tayside rivals to the drop ahead of the last day of the season but if they were to lose, Dundee still have a chance of survival.
“Will I be at St Johnstone? No. We’ve got a youth game here in the afternoon, so I’ll watch that and then I’ll just relax,” said McGhee in the aftermath of beating Hibs.
“It gives them a lot to think about. Not only that but for us, we can look at this result tonight and think we have a chance at the weekend of winning as well.
“If we lost tonight, then it’s all over, but it wouldn’t have given us as much hope going into Sunday. But now, you look at it and think the chances are that we might get a result on Sunday. They’ll feel that pressure as well but I don’t expect St Johnstone to take zero points from their final two games.”
McGhee was pleased to get an overdue victory under his watch, with the hosts fully meriting the three points, and was disappointed that Mulligan had a header on the stroke of half-time ruled out for offside.
“I’ve been talking about this incremental improvement and then we had the disaster at the weekend,” continued McGhee. “I did say we felt as if the spirit was there.
“They’d faced up to the reality of the situation a long time ago and it didn’t come as a shock that we were suddenly in relegation trouble and facing a game like this tonight.
“I don’t think they played with more freedom. I think we just got the right moments in the game. They could have scored another goal easily. We had a goal disallowed. I’ve watched it back it’s not offside. It’s onside. It’s a ridiculous decision.
“We could have had another goal, they could have had another goal. In the second half we squeezed it and got the goals at the right time.”
Hibs caretaker manager David Gray was critical of his team’s performance. They responded with an equaliser from James Scott but folded once Dundee seized the initiative in the second half.
“We lacked quality at times,” said Gray. Taking responsibility is something we need to get better at at times. It’s a very disappointing evening.
“It would be easy to use that [the managerial situation] as an excuse.
“Saying the season is finishing now or whatever. That’s never the case.
“It’s professional football, you get paid to play and perform every time you pull on the jersey.
“I don’t think it’s a case of not trying. The players have been trying all season.
“I think we’re a little thin at the moment [in terms of the squad] and limited to what we can do, but that’s not an excuse.”