Alex Greive header earns St Mirren late win at Hibernian
Substitute Alex Greive’s late header earned St Mirren a dramatic 3-2 victory away to Hibernian in their cinch Premiership opener at Easter Road.
The Buddies roared into a 2-0 lead after Mark O’Hara and Toyosi Olusanya scored in the first 17 minutes.
The Paisley side looked to have blown their chances of three points when Hibs hit back through second-half goals from Adam Le Fondre and Christian Doidge.
But Greive was on target in the 88th minute, ensuring the hosts suffered a demoralising start to their league campaign ahead of their Europa Conference League qualifier at home to Swiss side FC Luzern on Thursday.
Hibs made one enforced change to the team that started their 6-1 Conference League qualifying victory over Inter d’Escaldes as David Marshall, who pulled up in the warm-up against the Andorrans, returned to replace the injured Jojo Wollacott between the posts.
Saints also made one change initially to the side that started the previous weekend’s Viaplay Cup victory over Forfar as Greg Kiltie took the place of Stav Nahmani.
However, Stephen Robinson was forced into another alteration after Mikael Mandron suffered an injury in the warm-up and fellow forward Olusanya was promoted from the substitutes’ bench.
The visitors made the breakthrough in the 15th minute after they were awarded a penalty when Joe Newell was deemed to have tripped Kiltie in the box following a VAR check.
Captain O’Hara stepped up and sent Marshall the wrong way with his spot-kick.
Two minutes later the visitors doubled their lead when O’Hara cut the Hibs defence open with a lovely through-ball and Olusanya, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Arbroath, ran clear to drill through the legs of the exposed Marshall.
As the Hibs supporters made their frustrations known, manager Lee Johnson responded by making a double substitution just 28 minutes in as he replaced Allan Delferriere and Josh Campbell with Dylan Levitt and Jordan Obita.
The changes had little immediate difference to the hosts’ play, however, as the Buddies kept them comfortably at arm’s length for the remainder of the first half.
Indeed, it was the visitors who continued to look the most threatening, with O’Hara heading a Kiltie corner into the side-netting just after the half-hour mark before Marcus Fraser curled a 20-yard free-kick narrowly over in the 44th minute.
Hibs’ first clear chance came in the 57th minute when Elie Youan burst in from the right, but the Frenchman’s powerful angled drive was turned behind by Zach Hemming.
The hosts eventually got themselves back in the game in the 72nd minute when 36-year-old Le Fondre tucked a low shot clinically beyond Hemming from the edge of the box after Doidge had squared the ball into his path.
And 10 minutes later they were level when Doidge, back in the mix after spending last term on loan at Kilmarnock, ran on to a low cross from Youan and clipped home from six yards out.
However, just as the Edinburgh side looked to be in the ascendancy, St Mirren broke away and got what proved to be the winner when Greive glanced home a header from Kiltie’s cross.
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