Hibernian 0 – 0 St J’stone

Hibernian climbed up to fourth in the cinch Premiership despite being held to another frustrating 0-0 draw by St Johnstone in front of a bumper Easter Road crowd.

Nearly 20,000 fans crammed into the stadium, including 1,900 away supporters, after the Leith side made tickets available for only £5.

But there was a distinct lack of action at both ends of the park as Hibs, who have now drawn their last three games 0-0, failed to make their territorial advantage count.

With Hibs missing 11 first-team players, there was not a lot for the home supporters to get excited about during a turgid first half.

The Saints defence stood firm during the early stages as they were forced into making some blocks to protect Zander Clark from shots.

Saints offered little going forward but former Hibs midfielder Melker Hallberg did fire an effort wide from 25 yards after striker Callum Hendry charged down a poor pass from Josh Campbell.

Hibs stepped up their pressure at the end of the half. Christian Doidge should have done better with a free header from 10 yards but the striker failed to make contact with Sylvester Jasper’s cross.

Saints keeper Clark was then called on to make a double save in the 41st minute.

Chris Cadden’s fierce bouncing effort was blocked by the goalkeeper and Clark made himself big to block Doidge’s shot on the rebound.

Cammy MacPherson was fortunate to avoid being sent off in the 56th minute after the Saints midfielder went in high on Jake Doyle-Hayes in the middle of the park.

Hibs players demanded a red card but referee Craig Napier took his time before pulling out a yellow.

Saints then had a penalty appeal waved away for Campbell’s clumsy challenge on Hendry.

Hibs brought on Scott Allan and Elias Melkersen and the pair combined as the hosts came close to making the breakthrough.

A great bit of skill on the left flank saw Jasper find Allan in the six-yard box and the midfielder teed up Melkersen but the Norwegian’s close-range effort was blocked.

Melkersen, making his home debut, then saw a deflected drive loop just over Clark’s crossbar.

Saints could have won the three points late on but Ryan Porteous made a great block to keep out Hendry’s shot.

Maloney urges Hibs to be ruthless after another drab draw

Hibernian manager Shaun Maloney:

“We have to be more ruthless with the opportunities we create and even in the areas we get to, we have to be more ruthless.

“If we are to have serious aspirations of finishing in the top six, top four this year, and pushing on, then I have to demand more than what I got in the second half.

“We are very young. To ask this squad to really push for fourth is a big ask. They need more senior players back.

“They’ve given me everything, there was no lack of effort there. It’s just that bit of quality in the final third and the second half we lost control a bit.

“We still didn’t give up many opportunities, we have to take that as a positive because it’s the foundation of a team.

“But we are playing at home and I wanted to give the supporters a little bit more than they got in the second half.

“We have 10 out injured, it’s a lot but I don’t want to keep using it.”

Davidson: Neither side deserved to win

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson:

“It was one of those games that was a bit like a boxing match. Both teams were sparring, but neither team managed to land any punches.

“I thought we both tried to have a go and get into good areas, but the quality in the final third let both teams down.

“We had to make three changes due to forced injuries. I was almost going to bring Shaun Rooney down from the stand in the second half to play right wing-back!

“It was one of those games and, in the end, I am quite happy with the point.”

What’s next?

Hibs visit Motherwell in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals on Sunday March 13 at 12.30pm, while St Johnstone host Motherwell in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday March 19 at 3pm.

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