Lomas and Saints off to a winner

Hibs took the lead on Saturday through Richie Towell at McDiarmid

Park but goals from Francisco Sandaza, Marcus Haber and Dave Mackay

sealed the win for the Perth Saints. Caretaker boss Billy Brown was

in charge of team affairs for this game but Fenlon – appointed to

the Easter Road hotseat on Friday – would have been far from

impressed from his vantage point in the directors’ box. Hibs were

without Garry O’Connor after the striker failed to recover from

illness in time. Cillian Sheridan recovered from a hamstring strain

to start in what was Saints boss Lomas’ first home match at the

helm but Jody Morris was out with injury and a virus. However, the

home side were dealt an early blow when Sheridan pulled up and

appeared to suffer a recurrence of the injury while chasing a

Sandaza pass. He was forced out of the action with just 10 minutes

on the clock and replaced by Haber. Real chances in front of goal

were few and far between early on but Hibs surged into the lead

after 26 minutes despite the best efforts of the Saints goalkeeper.

Peter Enckelman blocked well from a point-blank shot from Leigh

Griffiths and got a hand to Towell’s follow-up shot but could not

prevent the rebound from hitting the back of the net. Martin Scott

then missed a headed chance for the visitors before Steven Anderson

blasted high and wide at the other end, with Graham Stack

untroubled in the Hibs goal. Chris Millar saw his effort flash

across the face of goal and wide as the home side continued to

press for the equaliser. The hard work paid off and Saints were

back on level terms after 39 minutes when Sandaza rammed home the

rebound after his first attempt crashed off the post. Saints took

the lead on the stroke of half-time when Mackay picked out Haber at

the back post and he scored with a free header from close range. St

Johnstone increased their advantage two minutes after the restart

when Mackay stepped up for a free-kick and sent a curling effort

past Stack and into the back of the net in off the post. Griffiths

then squandered the chance to pull a goal back for Hibs from a

David Wotherspoon cross but the forward was offside anyway. Saints

still looked capable of finding the net again and Sandaza had a go

from the edge of the box but he was off-target on this occasion and

rifled over. St Johnstone were still hungry for goals and were

threatening again when Sandaza turned provider for Murray Davidson

but his effort was tame and comfortably gathered by the Hibs

goalkeeper. Hibs passed up a decent chance themselves when Danny

Galbraith whipped a cross into the path of Junior Agogo and his

header dipped inches over the crossbar. But it was too little too

late from the Edinburgh side as they returned to the capital empty

handed, with just three wins so far in the SPL this season.