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Sunday, 12 May, 2002, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Sad end for Saints
Dods and Cuthbert combine to stop Townsley
Hibs' Derek Townsley finds his path to goal blocked
St Johnstone 0-1 Hibernian


Relegated St Johnstone ended a miserable season with a home defeat to Hibernian.

The only goal of the game came at the close of the first half and it was Derek Townsley who notched his fifth goal of the season.

A healthy travelling support watched both sides struggle to entertain and both sets of fans will want to forget wretched campaigns.

St Johnstone pushed for an equaliser in the second half, but, despite enjoying a good deal of possession, they lacked any clout up front.

Hibs created the first chance of the match when Townsley saw his 30-yard free kick well saved by Kevin Cuthbert.

Visiting keeper Tony Caig was called into action for the first time in the 10th minute when he dived well at the feet of the on-rushing Paddy Connolly.

Hibs gradually took control of the game and much of their good play was coming down the right-hand side through Frederic Dacquin.

The 23-year old Frenchman, who was former manager Franck Sauzee's final signing for the club, proved a handful for the home side with his pace and skill.

Frederic Daquin shows Tommy Lovenkrands a clean pair of heels
Frederic Daquin enjoyed a good game for Hibs
Townsley came close to opening the scoring in the 31st minute when Jarkko Wiss played a perfectly weighted ball into the penalty but the former Motherwell winger lost the ball under his feet and his final shot at Cuthbert was weak.

Connolly wasted a glorious opportunity to score after a great run from his own half but, instead of releasing Peter MacDonald or Paul Hartley, he decided to go it alone and shoot weakly at Caig.

Hibs scored the opening goal when Townsley combined well with Gary O'Connor two minutes before the break.

The young striker man found space on the left hand side and cut the ball back to Townsley, who sidefooted the ball past Cuthbert from 18 yards.

Saints made a bright start to the second half and Paul Hartley released Connolly in front of goal with a quick free-kick but the striker lingered too long on his shot and allowed Gary Smith to recover.

From a corner Saints' defender Darren Dods, a former Hibs player, hammered a volley wide when it looked easier to hit the target.

Gary O'Connor showed the aggressive qualities which have propelled him into the Scotland squad in the 65th minute when he powered through the Saints' defence before shooting wide.

Ten minutes later, St Johnstone defender Stuart McCluskey thought he had levelled the scoring but his header was cleared on the goal line.

A mix-up in the Hibs defence allowed substitute Keigan Parker a free shot at Tony Caig's goal, but the youngster couldn't get past the on-rushing Caig despite having two attempts.

St Johnstone: Cuthbert, Dods, McCluskey, McCulloch, McClune, Murray (Ferry 70), Panther, Hartley, Lovenkrands (Fotheringham 79), Macdonald (Parker 57), Connolly.
Subs Not Used: Devlin, Maher.

Booked: Hartley.

Hibernian: Caig, Alan Dempsie, Fenwick, Smith, Orman, Townsley, Wiss (Nicol 61), Jack, Daquin (Whittaker 79), Brewster (Reid 61), O'Connor.
Subs Not Used: Colgan, Doumbe.

Attendance: 3,372

Referee: C Thomson

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BBC Scotland's Ken McRobb
"A game that didn't matter very much, but a victory for Hibs"

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