Match report as Hibernian climbed back up to third place in the cinch Premiership with a comfortable 3-0 victory over St Mirren; Martin Boyle opened the scoring from the penalty spot in first-half stoppage time before Myko Kukharevych and Ewan Henderson also found the target
Saturday 29 October 2022 20:36, UK
Hibernian climbed back up to third place in the Scottish Premiership with a comfortable 3-0 victory over St Mirren.
Martin Boyle opened the scoring from the penalty spot in first-half stoppage time before Myko Kukharevych and Ewan Henderson also found the target.
However, with the World Cup just under three weeks away, there was concern for Australia international Boyle when his afternoon came to a premature end in the second half with a knee problem.
St Mirren twice tested Hibs goalkeeper David Marshall in an entertaining first half but failed to lay a glove on the Leith outfit after the break.
There was no shortage of openings at both ends of the pitch during a lively start to the game.
The home side thought they had taken the lead in the seventh minute through Kukharevych only for VAR rule that Marijan Cabraja was offside in the build-up from Joe Newell's sublime pass.
Newell was involved again moments later when he lifted a delicate pass to Ryan Porteous, but the defender volleyed inches wide from a tight angle.
Although spending the majority of the half on the back foot, St Mirren still managed to work Hibs goalkeeper David Marshall.
Jonah Ayunga did well to create space up against Rocky Bushiri, but the forward's low drive was brilliantly pushed behind by Marshall.
Saints keeper Trevor Carson was then called into action to make a point-blank save to repel a close-range Boyle volley.
Back came St Mirren and Curtis Main was this time denied by Marshall with a low effort.
The chances dried up as the game approached the interval, but it was Hibs who went in at the break in front following Boyle's penalty.
VAR official Greg Aitken advised on-pitch referee Don Roberston to review claims for a Richard Tait handball in the box from a Chris Cadden shot and he pointed to the spot.
Boyle coolly sent Carson the wrong way from 12 yards.
Hibs were dealt a blow just nine minutes into the second half when Boyle was forced off injured.
Elias Melkersen came on, but that change had no effect on Hibs as Kukharevych finally got his goal in the 63rd minute.
The Ukrainian outmuscled Alex Gogic inside the box to get on the end of Henderson's pass before curling a superb finish beyond Carson.
Henderson made it three four minutes later.
Melkersen's shot deflected into the attacking midfielder's path just inside the area and Henderson placed a calm finish high into the net.
Hibernian manager Lee Johnson on Boyle's injury: "I'm praying it's not too bad.
"I was very worried it was his knee but it's not, it's down the side, sort of the top of the shin. And we're hoping the pain was contact to the nerve, because it went numb.
"That was what ended in him coming off, but I'm lighting a candle for him tonight hoping he's alright.
"It's going to be difficult psychologically for him, but I have to say his professionalism has been outstanding, he has never shirked anything in training or games.
"That's why he deserves to go to the World Cup, for that consistency."
St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson: "We didn't play like ourselves today and we deserved nothing out of the game. We have to hold our hands up.
"The goal at half-time was a setback, but it was a penalty from what I saw back given the modern rules. It kills us a little bit.
"We seem to give a penalty away in every away game. Three out of the five games we have given a penalty away and it is a battle from there.
"Our decision making wasn't as good as it had been. We have to make sure we reset now and go and do what we know we are good at. One result does not make us a poor team and one win doesn't make us a great team. We have to stay grounded and come back from it."
Hibs are away to Aberdeen in their next Scottish Premiership match on Friday November 4, kick-off 7.30pm.
St Mirren travel to face Ross County the following day. That match kicks-off at 3pm.