Hibs came from two goals down to draw at home to St Mirren in a topsy-turvy tie at Easter Road.
The first half was itself a tale of two halves, as Hibernian started slowly. Christian Doidge was spared the embarrassment of heading wide from five yards out by the offside flag in the second minute.
Hibs, who were so electric going forward in Tuesday’s cup win, were as uninspiring as the surface they play on. The Easter Road pitch is clinging to its last shades of green as the brown winter mud bids to usurp the plush wisps of grass. Passes going amiss and fifty-fifties being lost, Hibs were off the pace as the rain lashed down in Leith.
They were made to pay on thirteen minutes after Jonathan Obika shepherded the ball out for a corner. Set-piece responsibilities fell to Cameron MacPherson, whose corner ended up on the head of Conor McCarthy, who left the dwindling Paul Hanlon on the floor. It was hands on hips stuff from the boys in green.
The lively Ilkay Durmus beat David Gray with ease before calmly picking out the arriving Tony Andreu. The Frenchman dispatched the ball into the bottom right-hand corner, with Marciano again left helpless courtesy of lazy defending. First class, tracked, signed for, 0-2. This St Mirren side were delivering.
The Saints fans made the other three sides of Easter Road question whether they were descended from those famed Eastern European ultras, or whether they were indeed just humble Scots from the town of Paisley. Whilst the latter may be true, the drum was beating, bodies were bouncing, Vikings were clapping and chests were bare.
All of a sudden Hibernian arrived after twenty-four minutes, after neat interplay between Scott Allan and Martin Boyle saw Allan played in on the right-hand side of the box. He swept the ball across the ‘keeper and into the net. 2-1.
January signing Stephane Omeonga, whose slight figure wasn’t enough to stop St Mirren on so many occasions, proved pivotal in Hibs’ equaliser. It was his clip that allowed Doidge, fresh from a midweek hat-trick, to head home yet another goal.
Tops were firmly back on chests in the away end.
Sadly for the 16,320 inside Easter Road, the second half failed to live up to the rollercoaster that was the first.
The incoming deadline day trio of Greg Docherty, Mark McNulty and Paul McGinn started on the bench but all came on. Sparky Marc McNulty was greeted by a standing ovation, a recognition of his contribution last season.
Docherty, who chose a move to Edinburgh rather than Shrewsbury, impressed on his debut, winning numerous corners and offering excitement.
Boyle came closest for the hosts after the break. He was first to Sam Foley’s misjudged header back to his goalkeeper, but his shot was deflected just the wrong side of the upright. The ever-energetic Scott Allan then hit the crossbar directly from a corner as he looked to get the perfect amount of whip to catch Vaclav Hladky off-guard.
A winner wasn’t to be as neither side did quite enough to warrant taking the three points.
Hibs travel to Rangers on Wednesday before their Scottish Cup 5th Round tie against BSC Glasgow on Sunday.
Image rights: Sam Bayliss