St Mirren 0 Hibernian 0: Strikers endure nightmare on Love Street

IN RELEASING their official DVD celebrating 115 years at a stadium soon to disappear from the Scottish footballing landscape, St Mirren displayed an excellent sense of timing last week.

'Love Street – The Movie' went on sale on Friday, happily precluding the inclusion of any of this desperate contest delivered by the visit of Hibs to the old ground 24 hours later.

The goalless draw, which left neither side satisfied, means 9 January, 1999, when goals from Paul Hartley and current manager Mixu Paatelainen earned a 2-1 success, will remain permanently in the record books as the last time Hibs won at Love Street.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

They seldom appeared likely to amend that statistic on Saturday, their much-vaunted front three of Derek Riordan, Steven Fletcher and Colin Nish generally neutralised and isolated by a ferociously committed and well-drilled home side.

If anyone deserved to take all three points, it was St Mirren who, for much of the 90 minutes, were the more progressive and cohesive team. That said, Gus MacPherson's men were seldom able to carve open a Hibs defence who can at least take encouragement from only their second clean sheet of the season.

Rob Jones, the Easter Road club's towering captain, was one of the few who enjoyed the day out in Paisley as he and his colleagues looked to put the defensive aberrations of their 4-2 defeat at Celtic Park the previous weekend behind them. "It might not have been a great game to watch," smiled Jones, "but it was nice to play in from my point of view. The ball was in the air quite a lot and that suits me. St Mirren had one or two chances, but we helped each other out at the back and it was good to keep a clean sheet.

"We lost four bad goals at Celtic last week, all of them individual errors, so we had to bounce back from that. Today was good for us, it was a character-building game, and we have to try and build on it."

While Hibs' clean sheet owed much to the work of Jones and his central defensive partner Souleymane Bamba, with fit-again Chris Hogg having to settle for a place on the bench, they were also indebted to the feckless finishing of St Mirren striker Dennis Wyness.

The former Hearts and Inverness player has yet to score for the Paisley club and appears drained of confidence, as typified in the 61st minute when he hesitated needlessly after controlling a Hugh Murray cross and drove a weak shot straight at Hibs goalkeeper Yves Ma-Kalambay.

Strike partner Billy Mehmet offered moral support to Wyness after the game. "Dennis is a proven goalscorer and we know he will come good," said Mehmet. "It does affect your confidence as a striker when you are on a run like he is without scoring. I went through the same thing myself when I first came to St Mirren. You just have to keep working hard and once you break your duck, the goals will usually start to flow."

Hibs came closest to snatching a win with eight minutes remaining when Fabian Yantorno, who looked lively and inventive after replacing John Rankin, saw a shot well saved by St Mirren goalkeeper Mark Howard.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There was also an unsavoury aspect when Dean Shiels understandably reacted with fury to taunts from a St Mirren supporter about his visual impairment and had to be restrained by Hibs assistant manager Donald Park.


Franco Miranda (St Mirren)

On a day when flair and creativity were at a premium, the St Mirren left-back was the most adventurous and inventive on view. Miranda regularly foraged into attacking positions and saw a couple of long-range efforts cause concern to the Hibs defence.

Related topics: