Lennon laments mental frailty after visitors’ fightback
HIBERNIAN manager Neil Lennon criticised a Jekyll and Hyde performance after watching his team relinquish a two-goal lead against the Premiership basement side.
The Leith outfit were on course to rack up an emphatic victory after taking control inside half-an-hour courtesy of a Genseric Kusunga own goal and a Ryan Porteous header.
However, Dundee managed to recover by finding the net within three minutes either side of the break through Kenny Miller and Paul McGowan.
Lennon, whose team ended a three-game scoring drought but are now without a win in five games, admits a lack of quality on the ball and a mental fragility cost the hosts.
“It’s symptomatic of the spell we’re going through at the minute,” he said. “We don’t put teams away and we’ve conceded two poor goals by switching off. Some senior players are not playing at the level they could be and my strikers aren’t functioning at the minute either.
“It’s a culmination of things. It’s frustrating but it’s part of football and we need to get back to being strong mentally because that’s what we were good at for a long period of time and we’re lacking that at the minute.”
Hibs went ahead after 40 seconds when Kusunga glanced a header into his own net. The Dundee defender was stretching to cut out Daryl Horgan’s cross with Flo Kamberi ready to pounce but could only steer the ball past Jack Hamilton.
The visitors defended desperately and also rode their luck as they somehow avoided not falling further behind during a dominant start from Hibs. However, there was no stopping Porteous’ powerful header from a Stevie Mallan free-kick as Hibs doubled their lead after 30 minutes.
A first win in five league games seemed a certainty for Hibs but Dundee produced a rousing comeback. Miller gave Dundee a foothold with a second goal in two games in first- half injury- time, poking in Nathan Ralph’s cross from six yards.
There was further joy for the 488 Dundee fans inside Easter Road when McGowan levelled in the 47th minute. Jesse Curran took the ball off the feet of Mark Milligan and fed McGowan. The midfielder stepped back on to his left foot before curling an effort into the far corner of the net.
Both teams pushed for a winner but had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Dundee manager Jim McIntyre said: “We got off to the worst possible start.
“After t he second goal we disappeared a wee bit and looked fragile but we managed to get that all-important goal that gave us a bit of belief back.” BY MARK WALKER A SENSATIONAL 40-yard strike from Adam Hammill set Saints up to hand Oran Kearney his first league victory as manager as they secured their first win since the first day of the season. But, for Hearts, it surely killed off any last lingering title challenge hopes as they failed to score for the fifth game in a row.
The Paisley side took full advantage of a Hearts side who look short in numbers and confidence and have been unable to recover from the loss of four major players.
However, all the praise should be heaped on to Saints and 30-year-old Scouser Hammill, who followed up his brilliant opening goal with a cool finish to double St Mirren’s lead and end the contest.
Hammill said: “It’s always nice to score a goal like that, especially from such a distance. But as long as the team win that’s the most important thing.
“It’s up there with the best goal I’ve ever scored. To be honest, I turned and the space just opened up and in my head I thought that if I looped a volley it might cause havoc with the lights for the keeper. Fortunately that’s what happened and it went in the back of the net.
“You could try that maybe 50 times and it will go in Row Z or over the stand, but it went in today.”
There was relief, too, for Kearney who finally was able to celebrate his first league win since succeeding Alan Stubbs this season.
He said: “It feels good. The journey our guys have been on since I’ve been at the club ... it’s nice to finally get something to show for it.
“Pre-game I had a good feeling today was the day they were going to deliver and, to a man, they did.
“We’ve been on a run of bad luck and decent performances, but we haven’t had the result to go with it. Our lads have tried to deal with defeat after defeat and have shown character. Now we’re hopeful this will be a good release for them.”
Hearts really should have been a goal up in the fourth minute after Steven MacLean peeled away from his marker to get on the end of Michael Smith’s deep cross, but the