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MY TURN FOR CONCUSSION; St Johnstone 1 HIBS 1; Saints boss slams Murray's false fitness claim after head knock.

Byline: Gary Ralston

St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright has rounded on Murray Davidson for conning him over his head injury.

SAINTs remain unbeaten after five games in the Premiership but Wright claimed they were hampered against dominant Hibs by his midfielder's false declaration of fitness.

Davidson was concussed after only eight minutes against Celtic a fortnight ago but was back in the heart of the side.

However, he was replaced at half-time by Liam Craig,who took three minutes to set up the opener for Michael O'Halloran only to see it cancelled out by a Paul Paton own goal after an hour.

It was O'Halloran's fifth league goal in five games but the equaliser was the least Hibs deserved as they were denied by sloppy finishing - and a wonder stop from Alan Mannus five minutes from time.

Quizzed about Davidson, Wright said: "He'd said he was ill and then said he was fit. I'm not happy he's had to go off. You can't tell your manager you're fit and then have to go off after 45 minutes. I had to make an enforced substitution and I'm not pleased about that.

"If he declares himself fit he should be able to do 90 minutes. If a player says he's OK to play, the responsibility lies with him."

If Davidson felt queasy, Hibs boss Neil Lennon had the right to feel downright pig sick after watching his side dominate for all but the first 20 minutes.

Surprisingly, it was red-hot Simon Murray who was the biggest sinner, nodding a cross from Anthony Stokes over from six yards before taking a heavy touch 10 yards out that let David Wotherspoon clear.

David Gray volleyed over as half-time loomed and was denied the opener when Davidson headed over his own bar as the full-back prepared to pounce.

The second half seemed set to develop as the first half had ended and it took two fabulous blocks from Foster to keep Saints level just a minute after the restart.

Martin Boyle played a onetwo with Murray but his shot was saved by Alan Mannus before the full-back did enough to put off Stokes. Foster then jumped up and threw himself in front of Murray's follow-up - and Hibs paid a heavy price when Saints ran straight up the park and opened the scoring.

Sub Craig was the creator.His low cross from the left was met at the back by O'Halloran, who stole in unmarked to smash home the opener.

That should have settled Saints but it was Hibs who quickly regained the ascendency, with their equaliser after an hour the least they deserved.

A long pass found Murray and his low cross into the box was turned into his own net by Paton as Stokes threatened.

Hibs almost took the lead minutes later when Boyle's cross looked destined to be knocked in by Murray only for Steven Anderson to nod it over from underneath his own bar.

The away side nearly snatched it at the end but Mannus brilliantly touched a shot from Boyle on to the roof of the bar.

TWEET A BLEAT Hibs Daft @fuimus1980 "We have given every team in the league a goal start so far this season! Needs to be addressed very soon!"

GAME CHANGER Man-of-the-match Martin Boyle looked to have snatched the points for Hibs at the death only for Saints keeper Alan Mannus to tip his shot on to the bar.

Wing wiz back on the Boyle

Martin Boyle returned ahead of schedule only to admit he was premature in his celebration of a Hibs winner.

The little Easter Road winger terrorised St Johnstone on the right flank in his first match back after injuring his foot a month ago.

He almost snatched victory with a stunning shot from the edge of the box five minutes from time but his strike was only bettered by the save from Alan Mannus as he dived high to touch it onto the roof of the bar.

Hibs haven't won in the league since their 3-2 victory at Ibrox last month, but boss Neil Lennon was full of praise for their performance against high-flying Saints.

Boyle agreed and added: "We should have won but we didn't take our chances again and the keeper made a few good saves, including one from me.

"I thought my shot was going in. I was already turning away, only to be brought back down to earth. It was an unbelievable save.

"It was two points dropped and a frustrating day.

"However, it's great to be back.

"I stretched a tendon in my foot and they told meI'dbe out six weeks,soI'm away ahead of time."

More than 2500 Hibs fans in the crowd of 5591 lapped up their side's display and even if they scorned several chances, they still earned plaudits from their gaffer.

Lennon said: "We totally dominated all aspects of the game. We matched them physically and the football we played at times was outstanding. Saints don't give much away but we had clear-cut chances. We will play worse and win games."

CAPTION(S):

POINT OF ORDER Wright loses his cool before O'Halloran nets

HEAD FOR HEIGHTS. Davidson jumps with Hanlon but Saints star couldn't last 90 minutes
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 10, 2017
Words:874
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