St Johnstone 1 - 1 Hibs: Saints unbeaten as O'Halloran nets again
Michael O'Halloran's fine start in Perth continued as his fifth goal of the season helped St Johnstone maintain their unbeaten start with a 1-1 draw at home to Hibernian.
The Rangers loanee tapped in at the far post early in the second half to net his fifth in as many games since rejoining the club at the start of the season.
However, Paul Paton was forced to divert into the back of his own net soon after as Neil Lennon’s Hibs pressed, but despite heavy pressure in the second half they were unable to grab the win.
After naming an attacking line-up following the 1-1 draw with Dundee before the international break, Lennon saw his side start on the front foot with Anthony Stokes testing Alan Mannus inside the opening minute.
The visitors looked confident in possession, but vulnerable on the counter with Stefan Scougall and O’Halloran causing problems down the flanks.
Scougall saw a goalbound shot headed clear in the 11th minute before fine work from O’Halloran saw the former played in, only for Paul Hanlon to slide in and clear his dangerous cut-back.
John McGinn and Martin Boyle provided a constant threat at the other end for Hibs, but it was Simon Murray who should have been on the scoresheet.
The striker, who has scored twice in the league so far this season, was unable to control a low ball from Steven Whittaker before David Gray’s header found him six yards out. Again he could not control.
McGinn fired a low effort at Mannus, who saved with ease, before Gray volleyed a tough chance over from close range ten minutes before the break after more good work down the right wing by Boyle.
The winger was involved immediately after the restart, forcing Mannus into another save before some brave defending saw the follow-up shots from Murray and Stokes blocked.
They were made to rue their misses barely two minutes later as substitute Craig slid a dangerous ball across the box and O’Halloran was on hand to show just why he is so important to Tommy Wright’s side.
Boyle again broke free down the right but pulled his shot well wide after a poor pass from Stokes made him check his run, but Hibs were level on the hour mark.
Murray found space down the left and squared for his strike partner, only for Paton to divert the ball into his own net from close range with Stokes breathing down his neck.
Danny Swanson spurned a great chance to win it when through one on one with the keeper with seven minutes to go, before Mannus produced a stunning fingertip save to deny Boyle, whose shot cannoned back off the bar.
However, Wright’s side held on to maintain their unbeaten start, thus remaining the top three.