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Friday, 1 March, 2002, 14:50 GMT
Hibs kill off St Johnstone
Garry O'Connor celebrates scoring for Hibs
Garry O'Connor scored Hibs' third goal
Hibernian 3-0 St Johnstone

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Hibernian sounded the deathknell for St Johnstone's Scottish Premier League existence with a convincing victory in the relegation battle at Easter Road.

The home side marked Bobby Williamson's debut as manager by ending their run of 18 league games without a win.

Ian Murray scored twice in the first half and St Johnstone's task was made virtually impossible when striker Keigan Parker was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Garry O'Connor put the icing on the cake for the Edinburgh side with a stunning strike after the break to stretch the gap between Hibs and the bottom side to 12 points.

Billy Stark (left) knows his side are in serious trouble
Stark reality for Billy the Saint
Williamson made two changes from the side that predecessor Franck Sauzee selected for his final game in charge.

Lilian Martin and Jarkko Wiss were dropped in favour of fit-again John O'Neil and Mathias Jack, back after a three-match ban.

Williamson's Hibs era got off to an ideal start within a minute of kick off.

Rookie goalkeeper Kevin Cuthbert had been dropped to the St Johnstone bench in favour of recent loan acquisition Ludovic Roy and St Mirren's Frenchman was beaten before he had the chance to touch the ball.

O'Connor's shot deflected into the path of Murray, who squeezed the ball home.

John Rowbothan sends off Keigan Parker
Saints' Keigan Parker was sent off
St Johnstone hit back and Sammy Youssouf turned his marker but fired wide from the edge of the six-yard box.

They should have been level after 16 minutes.

Paul Hartley pounced on a poor back header by Gary Smith but played his shot against the legs of goalkeeper Nick Colgan.

Parker was booked for diving in the box under a challenge from Smith before Murray grabbed his second nine minutes before the break.

Murray's far post header squeezed between Roy and the upright.

New Hibs boss Bobby Williamson
Bobby Williamson: Debut in green
St Johnstone hopes were dealt a killer blow a minute later when Parker received his second yellow card for a late challenge on the goalscorer.

O'Connor had already gone close before he finally put the game beyond doubt after 66 minutes.

The striker drove the ball high into the far corner from 16 yards.

Hibernian: Colgan, Orman, Caldwell, Smith, Murray, De la Cruz (Townsley 79), Jack, O'Neil, Arpinon (Brebner 49), O'Connor, Brewster (Hurtado 69). Subs Not Used: Caig, Fenwick.

Booked: Murray, De la Cruz, Brebner.

Goals: Murray 2, 37, O'Connor 67.

St Johnstone: Roy, Lynch, Dods, Weir, Forsyth (Falconer 79), Maher (Dasovic 57), Murray, Kane, Hartley, Parker, Youssouf (Jones 50). Subs Not Used: Cuthbert, McCluskey.

Sent Off: Parker (38).

Booked: Kane, Parker, Jones.

Attendance: 13,731

Referee: J Rowbotham.

New Hibs boss Bobby Williamson
"I couldn't have got off to a better start"
Hibs' goal hero Ian Murray
"I hope the boss has taken notice"
Saints boss Billy Stark
"I don't have any complaints about anything today"
Links to more Scot Prem stories are at the foot of the page.


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