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Page last updated at 20:37 GMT, Monday, 13 April 2009 21:37 UK

St Mirren 1-1 Hibernian

St Mirren v Hibernian

Highlights - St Mirren v Hibernian

By Thomas McGuigan

Steven Fletcher's goal on the stroke of half-time secured an unlikely point for Hibs against a luckless St Mirren side.

Saints midfielder Andy Dorman got his third SPL goal in as many games with a superb opener after 28 minutes.

Despite pinning Hibs in their own half for long spells, St Mirren could not extend their advantage.

And they were made to pay by the ruthless Fletcher when he collected Derek Riordan's lofted pass and coolly drilled the ball past Mark Howard.

St Mirren, who knew victory would see them move two points ahead of tenth-placed Inverness CT and in the process ease their relegation fears, started brightly.

Dorman, McGinn and Craig Dargo were causing the Hibs defence problems with their movement and pace, with Hibs captain Rob Jones, in particular, looking ill-at-ease.

Hibs were not helped by the fact keeper Grzegorz Szamotulski was unable to take goal-kicks and Sol Bamba's kicks often failed to reach the half-way line.

But despite their promising attacks, Saints failed to trouble Szamotulski in the opening 25 minutes.

That changed three minutes later when the hosts broke the deadlock with a contender for goal of the season.

McGinn's lofted pass from the left found Dorman free on the right-hand side of the penalty area.

The midfielder let the ball drop before unleashing an unstoppable drive high beyond Szamotulski into the net.

Hibs were struggling to create anything of note and time and again failed to find right winger Andy O'Brien in acres of space, while Fletcher and Riordan looked surprsingly subdued.

Steven Fletcher is congratulated after his equaliser
Steven Fletcher equalised for Hibs on the stroke of half-time

But the visitors managed to fashion an undeserved equaliser moments before the half-time whistle.

Fletcher controlled Riordan's accurate long pass and sent a superb left foot shot low past Mark Howard.

The second half started in similar fashion to the first, with St Mirren pouring men forward in search of another goal.

And they were almost rewarded when Szamotulski flapped unconvincingly at a Hugh Murray cross, but the predatory Dorman could only fire wide from 14 yards.

In 51 minutes Fletcher outpaced the St Mirren defence, but blazed his shot over the bar.

Both sides were pressing for a winner and the visitors began to look more dangerous on the counter attack.

Szamotulski reacted brilliantly to prevent an own goal when Denes Rosa's attempted clearance looked destined for the net until the Pole palmed the ball away.

Howard then came to St Mirren's rescue with 13 minutes remaining, when he somehow palmed away Bamba's bullet header from John Rankin's cross.

Colin Nish elected to shoot in the 89th minute, when Riordan was unmarked in the box.

Dorman could have snatched a deserved winner in injury-time, but his shot was deflected wide and both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils.

St Mirren manager Gus MacPherson:
"Bar the mistake we made in the 45th minute, we were in total control of the game.

"We probably created better chances in the second half and that speaks volumes for the players.

"We had a few choice words at half-time and they reacted in a fantastic manner. On another night we could've scored two or three in the second half.

"Hibs were very attack-minded, but we were on the front foot trying to get the winning goal. It's probably the best we've played at the new stadium."

Hibernian manager Mixu Paatelainen:
"We came for the three points but we need to pass the ball better than that. Our passing was horrendous.

"It's been a dilemma for us all season. Sometimes we can pass the ball well and then there's days like this when we can't pass it at all.

"Lack of movement, careless with passes, not even looking: it's not good enough.

"It's a massive game for us (against Rangers) but hopefully we can put in a performance a lot better than this."

St Mirren: Howard, Ross, Camara, Cuthbert, Potter, McGinn (Brady 82), Thomson, Dorman, Murray, Dargo, Mehmet (Hamilton 57). Subs Not Used: Mathers, Mason, Haining, Barron, McAusland.

Goals: Dorman 28.

Hibernian: Szamotulski, Hogg, Jones, Bamba, Rankin, Rosa (Chisholm 88), Stevenson, O'Brien (Johansson 60), Nish, Riordan, Fletcher (Murray 71). Subs Not Used: Ma-Kalambay, van Zanten, Keenan, Thicot.

Booked: Bamba, Jones, Nish, Chisholm.

Goals: Fletcher 45.

Att: 5,151

Ref: I Brines

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see also
SPL photo gallery
13 Apr 09 |  Scottish Premier
St Mirren v Hibs as it happened
13 Apr 09 |  Scottish Premier

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