Hibs saw their chance of a first win in seven games scupperedby an injury-time equaliser in Paisley, as they failed to hold on to a 2-1 leadon a night of action, arguments and, inevitably, another VAR decision.
It looked as if skipper Joe Newell had scored the winner withjust over 20 minutes of regulation time, his goal putting Nick Montgomery’s menback in the lead after a Mark O’Hara penalty had cancelled out Josh Campbell’s earlyopener in his first start under new management.
But St Mirren sub Lewis Jamieson thumped a shot past David Marshallwith two minutes of the five added on played, as the hosts were rewarded for aferocious late assault on the away goal.
On a night when 16-year-old Rory Whittaker, already theyoungest debutant in club history, was handed a first start, Hibs certainly hadtheir chances to win a game they led twice.
It was the Hibs fullback on the opposite flank who providedthe telling pass for the early breakthrough. Even if Jordan Obita couldn’t haveexpected his speculative ball to cause such chaos.
If former Hibee Alex Gogic had been wearing longer studs, infact, that ball almost certainly wouldn’t have skidded and slid under his footto put Dylan Vente on a clear run into the box.
From there, though, the Dutchman showed his awareness andability to draw a defender and lay the ball off for Campbell, who sent a low,thumping, right-footed effort beyond the outstretched right hand of a divingZach Hemming.
Jair Tavares unlocked the entire Saints defence with a singlespectacular cross-field pass not long after the opener, Vente rippling the sidenetting with a shot from an ever-tightening angle.
But the home side were hardly without threat, consistentlymaking good opportunities to send in testing crosses for the strike paring of MikaelMandron and Conor McMenamin.
In a first half that flew by in a flurry of chances, goal-boundshots – three for Elie Youan alone and one Greg Kiltie effort cleared off theline by Jordan Obita – and momentum shifts, Hibs certainly had to graft andgrind just to hang on to their slender lead.
Campell squandered a great chance to make it 2-0 just fourminutes into the second half, just failing to get around a sprawling Hemmingafter a poor Gogic back pass.
And, just moments later, Hibs paid the price as refereeSteven McLean – after another lengthy VAR check involving several replays on thepitch-side monitor – awarded a penalty and booked Obita for an offence that, inthis technological age, remained a mystery to virtually everyone in the ground.
With O’Hara converting to draw the hosts level, Hibs were nowunder pressure. They needed to find a response.
And they did just that, Youan breaking down the right andfinding Vente, who delivered the perfect low cross for Newell to finish. Afterthe obligatory video check for offside, the goal stood.
Not for the first time this season, though, Hibs could notsee the game out, as they dropped two more points in the penultimate game beforethe international break.