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                                                    St Mirren

                                                    Clydesdale Bank Premier League , Mar 3, 2012
                                                    Ground: Easter Road Stadium , Kickoff: 15:00 , Att 9,211

                                                    Team news

                                                    Fenlon focussed on home form Hibernian manager Pat Fenlon is eager for his relegation-threatened side to follow up their win at Kilmarnock with victory over St Mirren and to ensure Easter Road once again becomes difficult territory for visiting teams.

                                                    Eleventh-placed Hibs moved three points clear of Clydesdale Bank Premier League bottom club Dunfermline as Tom Soares scored twice in last week's 3-1 win at Rugby Park. It was their fourth away win of the season.

                                                    Fenlon told Hibernian TV: "The result last week at Kilmarnock was a good win. It becomes a very good win if we back that up with another win against St Mirren.

                                                    "We're quietly pleased, but there's still work to do." Improving the home record is of paramount importance in the survival fight.

                                                    Hibs' record of one win in the capital in a year - September's defeat of St Johnstone - has contributed to their current predicament.

                                                    Fenlon, whose side have won four and lost nine of 15 games since he succeeded Colin Calderwood in November, added: "Over the last couple of seasons the home record hasn't been good enough. We need to rectify that quickly.

                                                    "Teams coming to Easter Road, when it was the old stadium, didn't fancy it too much. We need to get it back to that.

                                                    "I think teams enjoy coming to Easter Road now - it's a fabulous stadium, good, big pitch.

                                                    "In the short-term we need to make it a difficult place. We've got to make it as hostile as we can for teams and that starts on the pitch.

                                                    "What happens on the pitch is relevant to what gets the supporters agitated and that's what we need to do." Boos and jeers from Hibs fans at their own players have become commonplace, but Fenlon hopes his squad can earn the backing of the home faithful.

                                                    He added: "We've got to go and enjoy it. We've got eight, nine-thousand of our own supporters. We've got to embrace that and get them behind us." Hibs must wait to discover if midfielder Soares and goalkeeper Graham Stack can recover from knocks in time for the game.

                                                    David Barron admits one of the benefits of signing a new contract for St Mirren is the certainty of being paid every week.

                                                    The 24-year-old defender was glad this week to complete a deal that ties him to the Buddies until the summer of 2014.

                                                    Hearts players have had regular battles to get their wages paid on time this season while current financial problems at Dunfermline meant players, management and staff are still to receive their February wages in full - 60% has been paid, with 20% more set to follow on Monday - with the club vowing to pay the remaining balances within 10 days.

                                                    Overshadowing all that is administration-hit Rangers' battle for survival with the Scottish champions set to have their squad decimated today by the administrators.

                                                    All of which has left an impression on Barron and ahead of tomorrow's trip to Hibernian in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, he told Press Association Sport: "Since I have been at the club - that's six years now, - they have treated me unbelievably well.

                                                    "Everyone at the club up to the chairman has been great to me and I have to thank them.

                                                    "It is a really well-run club and it made my decision (to sign a new deal) easier.

                                                    "You see all the carry on at other clubs, not being paid wages and stuff like that. But in the six years I have had my wages every single week so you have to be thankful for things like that as well.

                                                    "There are probably a few boys who take it for granted - I probably took it for granted as well - but now you start to appreciate it more when you see players have not been paid at other clubs.

                                                    "On that part of it, the club has been terrific and with a new training ground and new stadium, it is a great place to be and I want to be part of it." Midfielder Paul McGowan and winger Dougie Imrie are suspended for St Mirren.

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                                                    Hibernian vs St Mirren

                                                    Last modified 18:42 03/03/12

                                                    Hibs earn important point Hibernian eased their Clydesdale Bank Premier League relegation worries in a stalemate with draw specialists St Mirren at Easter Road.

                                                    Buddies goalkeeper Craig Samson saved a first-half James McPake header and second-half shots in quick succession from Leigh Griffiths and substitute David Wotherspoon as 11th-placed Hibs moved four points clear of Dunfermline at the foot of the table.

                                                    Saints - now without an SPL win in nine matches, the last five of them draws - were lively on the break without ever testing Hibs goalkeeper Graham Stack, but claimed a point due to a strong defensive display, coupled with Hibs' blunt attack.

                                                    Hibs' record of one win in the capital in a year - September's defeat of St Johnstone - has contributed to their current predicament but Pat Fenlon's side moved further clear of the Pars, who lost 2-0 to Motherwell.

                                                    Four of St Mirren's last five games have been goalless, the exception being last week's 1-1 draw with Aberdeen, and their last league win was against Rangers on Christmas Eve. Hope of a top-six finish must now be faint.

                                                    Hibs were without Tom Soares, whose double helped secure last week's 3-1 win at Kilmarnock, due to a dead leg, with Ivan Sproule starting in his place.

                                                    After Steven Thomson sliced wide from Nigel Hasselbaink's cut-back, Hibs went on the attack.

                                                    Leigh Griffiths shot across the face of goal from an acute angle after ghosting in behind Jim Goodwin before the hosts went close again.

                                                    Captain McPake met a corner with a powerful header, but Samson's firm hand turned the ball away.

                                                    St Mirren were on the defensive and Sproule saw an effort from the edge of the box deflect out for a corner, which Francomb whipped in and McPake headed off target.

                                                    It was the second time the Hibs defender had risen unchallenged to meet a set-piece and a warning to the Buddies.

                                                    Goodwin and Roy O'Donovan had an off-the-ball altercation, both booked after the visiting captain appeared to use a forceful elbow after taking exception for the Hibs striker challenging Samson for a through ball.

                                                    Had O'Donovan made more of the incident, Goodwin could have faced sterner punishment than a yellow card from referee Willie Collum.

                                                    After the restart, O'Donovan avoided a second caution for a tackle from behind on Murray before Hibs pressed forward, with Isaiah Osbourne, Griffiths and Francomb each having shots blocked.

                                                    Murray dragged down O'Donovan on the edge of the visitors' area, presenting Hibs with a free-kick 25 yards out in front of goal.

                                                    Griffiths' left-foot strike hit the wall before he volleyed a rebound into the floor which bounced high and fell for O'Donovan. However, the Irish striker could not get much of a touch and Samson saved.

                                                    St Mirren striker Steven Thompson appealed in desperation for a penalty when chasing a lost cause after being legitimately shoved off the ball. It was an illustration of how few chances the visitors were creating.

                                                    Jorge Claros drove narrowly wide for Hibs before Samson was again called into action, making a double save.

                                                    First he parried a Griffiths' effort and then turned substitute Wotherspoon's follow up around the post.

                                                    Kenny McLean blasted over on the counter attack after speeding beyond the Hibs defence as Saints missed an opportunity to steal all three points.

                                                    Team Line-ups

                                                    Player rating out of ten Player name Substitution Did they score? Player's disciplinary record Rating
                                                    1 Graham Stack
                                                    22 George Francomb(sub 81)
                                                    15 James McPake
                                                    4 Paul Hanlon
                                                    19 Pa Saikou Kujabi
                                                    17 Ivan Sproule(sub 66)
                                                    24 Isaiah Osbourne
                                                    8 Jorge Claros
                                                    16 Lewis Stevenson
                                                    28 Leigh Griffiths
                                                    18 Roy O'Donovan(sub 89)
                                                    31 Mark Brown
                                                    5 Sean O'Hanlon
                                                    7 David Wotherspoon(sub 66)
                                                    9 Garry O'Connor(sub 89)
                                                    10 Eoin Doyle
                                                    25 Richie Towell
                                                    2 Matt Doherty(sub 81)
                                                    St MirrenRating
                                                    Player rating out of ten Player name Did they score? Player's disciplinary record Substitution Rating
                                                    1 Craig Samson
                                                    2 David van Zanten
                                                    5 Lee Mair
                                                    6 Jim Goodwin
                                                    3 David Barron
                                                    7 Hugh Murray(sub 68)
                                                    8 Steven Thomson
                                                    17 Kenny McLean(sub 81)
                                                    21 Gary Teale
                                                    9 Steven Thompson
                                                    11 Nigel Hasselbaink
                                                    12 Graeme Smith
                                                    4 Darren McGregor
                                                    23 Graham Carey
                                                    14 Marc McAusland
                                                    15 Aaron Mooy(sub 68)
                                                    37 Jason Naismith(sub 81)
                                                    39 Thomas Reilly

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                                                    Team Hibernian St Mirren

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