Saints and Hibs share the spoils

St Mirren and Hibernian produced an afternoon of mediocrity with a 0-0 bore draw in their Scottish Premier League clash at Love Street.

Last Updated: 01/11/08 at 17:45 Post Comment

Miranda: Unable to find the back of the net

Miranda: Unable to find the back of the net

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The Paisley club will move to their new stadium in January but few of the 4,588 fans who turned up on a cold Paisley day will take their memories of this match with them.

The highlight of the game came four minutes from the break when Hibs keeper Yves Ma-Kalambay made a decent diving save from Franco Miranda's 25-yard drive.

There were a couple of other saves made by Ma-Kalambay and Buddies keeper Mark Howard but neither side deserved to take all the points.

Hibs boss Mixu Paatelainen had opened the scoring for Hibs the last time the Easter Road side had triumphed in Paisley in 1999 but he had to watch from the stand as he started his four-match touchline ban.

The former Hibees' striker watched his team struggle to get into their stride and for most of the first 45 minutes they were guilty of many things but particularly being just too hasty at times with their passing.

The Paisley side, more straightforward and purposeful, slowly got their passing game going and in the 11th minute midfielder Garry Brady's drive from 25 yards was comfortably gathered by Ma-Kalambay, moments before Miranda's angled drive was deflected past the far post for a corner which came to nothing.

At the other end, as Hibs broke with pace, Steven Fletcher squared to John Rankin but the midfielder's lame shot from the edge of the box failed to trouble Buddies' keeper Howard.

In the 23rd minute, after Hugh Murray fouled Dean Shiels 30 yards from goal, Derek Riordan fired in a tame free-kick which Howard saved with ease. It was symptomatic of Hibs' inertia.

The home side were finding some joy going down the left-hand side but on at least three occasions Steven Robb's final ball failed to find a team-mate.

Hibs looked a shadow of the side that troubled Celtic for over an hour at Parkhead last week but in a rare Hibs attack after 35 minutes, midfielder Dean Shiels was tackled by back-tracking St Mirren defender Jack Ross as he set himself to pull the trigger 12 yards from goal.

The game warmed up as it neared the break and four minutes from the interval, Ma-Kalambay had a fine diving save from Miranda's 25-yard drive.

The St Mirren players were applauded off at the break by the home fans perhaps hoping to inspire them on to better efforts in the second half.

The early signs did not look promising.

If anything, the standard of football deteriorated but in the 52nd minute Shiels released Riordan in to the left-hand side of the Saints penalty area with a fine pass inside Ross.

However, the former Celtic player failed to trouble Howard with two attempts, both from around 10 yards out, the Saints keeper parrying the first shot before collecting the second.

Hibs midfielder Ian Murray appeared to intercept Miranda's cross from the left reaching Saints striker Billy Mehmet inside the six-yard box but referee Stephen Finnie surprisingly awarded a goal kick.

In the 61st minute Saints midfielder Hugh Murray took a Brady pass down the right and crossed to the back post where Wyness controlled the ball well enough, but took too much time before delivering a weak shot which Ma-Kalambay saved with his legs.

At the other end, Shiels took a Fletcher knock down 25 yards from goal but volleyed wide of the target.

It looked increasingly likely that the first goal would win the game but there were no signs of its imminent arrival.

Both managers made substitutions in order to shake things up but still there was no improvement.

In the 81st minute Howard made a competent save from Hibs substitute Fabian Yantorno, on for Rankin, and Fletcher headed the resulting corner over the bar and the game trundled erratically all the way to conclusion.

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