Football - Griffiths foils Saints

Leigh Griffiths' late equaliser for Hibernian in the 3-3 draw against St Mirren means the Buddies face another anxious wait before they can confirm their Clydesdale Bank Premier League survival.

PA Sport

The Paisley outfit's draw at Easter Road leaves them just eight points clear of bottom club Dundee after John Brown's side beat Hearts at Dens Park. However, victory over the Jambos at Tynecastle next Saturday will be enough to confirm an eighth successive season of top-flight football next term.

Griffiths opened the scoring after 31 minutes but Saints levelled through Esmael Goncalves on the hour mark. Hibs striker Ross Caldwell had the home side ahead again but two headers from Marc McAusland had the Buddies on the verge of safety with just eight minutes remaining. But Griffiths denied them with an equaliser four minutes from time.

The entertainment-starved crowd had to wait until a minute before the half-hour mark for their first genuine goalmouth incident as the home side's Jorge Claros held off Paul McGowan to play in Griffiths, but Craig Samson was down smartly to block his low shot.

However, Griffiths soon presented the Leith supporters with something to really feast on as he blasted home a delicious opener. Claros and Danny Handling combined in midfield before the latter fed the ball wide to the on-loan Wolves striker. Griffiths drove inside before smashing past Samson at his near post.

The lines of communication from Dens Park would have informed boss Danny Lennon that Dundee were putting pressure on a Hearts side reduced to 10 men and that something more forceful was required if they were to finally put down the Dark Blues' resistance.

That extra firepower arrived in the shape of Sam Parkin as the English target man replaced John McGinn. But before he had even touched the ball, Goncalves struck to level. The Portuguese attacker had a fresh air swipe at Gary Teale's low centre but when Hibs failed to clear Steven Thompson's attempt from the loose ball, Goncalves fired past Ben Williams at the near post.

Pat Fenlon had just introduced Ross Caldwell for Eoin Doyle and the substitute striker took less than a minute to introduce himself as he struck a low drive into the corner of the net from Griffiths' assist.

But the visitors did level on 77 minutes as McGowan floated a cross to the back post which Thompson could only redirect across the area. Intentional or not, his intervention was perfect for McAusland, who looped his own header over Williams' reach and into the net. And just as news of a Dundee goal arrived at Easter Road, Saints struck again.

Teale had switched to the left-hand side but was just as effective as he picked out McAusland again, who sneaked a second header over the line. St Mirren could almost touch safety but David Wotherspoon played in Tom Taiwo in the box and the midfielder dropped a shoulder before picking out Griffiths to net again at the back post and send Paisley nerves jangling for another week.

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