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Tony Gallacher fires St Johnstone to vital win at Hibs with first career goal

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 6 Apr 2024

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Tony Gallacher popped up with his first career goal as St Johnstone eased their relegation concerns and simultaneously dented Hibernian’s top-six bid with a surprise 2-1 win at Easter Road.

Nick Montgomery’s Hibs were jeered off by their supporters after the former Falkirk and Liverpool defender scored an 81st-minute winner for the Perth side to take them five points clear of Ross County in the battle to avoid finishing second bottom.

At one point, it looked like Hibs’ hopes of securing a top-six place were over, but Dundee’s late collapse at home to Motherwell means the Leith outfit remain within a point of the Dark Blues and still have a chance of scrambling into the top six.

There was one change for both sides after their respective defeats a week previously, with Hibs attacker Martin Boyle replacing Elie Youan, who dropped to the bench, and Saints defender Andrew Considine taking over from the injured Liam Gordon.

The hosts thought they should have had a penalty in the ninth minute when St Johnstone goalkeeper Dimitar Mitov clattered into Emiliano Marcondes as he tried to punch a high ball clear after Myziane Maolida’s shot from outside the box had deflected up into the air, but play was waved on.

Three minutes later, Joe Newell had a good opportunity after being set up by a cutback from the left by Maolida but the midfielder blazed an angled shot over the bar from 15 yards out with his weaker right foot.

Saints got their first notable sight of goal in the 24th minute when Adama Sidibeh drove at Hibs’ defence and saw a strike from the edge of the box deflect just wide off Marcondes.

The hosts were struggling to generate any rhythm in a strong, swirling wind and Saints – enjoying a more comfortable afternoon than they probably anticipated – threatened again in the 40th minute when Nicky Clark pinged a shot over from outside the box after things opened up nicely for him.

The visitors made the breakthrough in the 48th minute when Matt Smith clipped a well-weighted pass in behind the home defence and Sidibeh raced away from Rocky Bushiri to fire an angled shot beyond the exposed David Marshall.

With their top-six rivals Dundee leading Motherwell at that point, the pressure was on Hibs to summon a response and they did exactly that in the 56th minute when Chris Cadden followed up to ram the ball into the net from 12 yards out after Mitov parried a Maolida shot from the edge of the box into his path.

The hosts had several good chances to get their noses in front, with Cadden and Maolida sending efforts over the bar and Adam Le Fondre and Maolida denied by excellent saves from Mitov.

Hibs were made to pay in the 81st minute when Gallacher pounced on the edge of the six-yard box to hook in a Graham Carey corner.

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