The prospect of Saints maintaining their SPL status look bleak following a 3-0 defeat in the vital match against Hibs at Easter Road. The damage was done in the first 45 minutes with the home side leading 2-0 and Saints down to 10 men after the ordering off of Keigan Parker.
There was mixed news for Billy Stark before the match with Jim Weir passing his fitness test but Tommy Lovenkrands suffering from a back injury picked up yesterday in training - Ross Forsyth took his place on the left side in place of the Dane.
Around 1100 Saints fans made the trip to Edinburgh but they witnessed their side going behind in the very first minute of play when Ian Murray steered the ball home after Gary O'Connor's cross from the left broke kindly for him. It left Ludovic Roy's first touch as a Saints player to involve picking the ball out of the back of the net.
Keigan Parker came close to getting a quick leveller just a minute later when he hit a Paul Hartley pass first time just over the bar and Hartley himself had a snap chance to score when he pounced on a wayward Gary Smith back header but Nick Colgan denied him from close range.
There was a flurry of bookings around the half-hour stage with Paul Kane seeing yellow for a challenge on Jack, Ian Murray suffering similarly for a foul on Parker and then Parker himself was carded for allegedly diving in the box.
The roof fell in on Saints 9 minutes from the break. First a Jack cross from the left was brought down and squeezed into the net by Murray for his second goal of the game and just seconds after the restart Parker received what seemed a harsh second yellow card for a foul on Murray.
Grant Murray came close from 22 yards for Saints and O'Connor had a 3rd goal for Hibs chalked off for offside but at the interval it looked extremely bleak with Saints two goals behind and a man down.
The second half was little more than a drawn out torture for Saints and although Graeme Jones, Nick Dasovic and Willie Falconer were introduced little impression was made on the home rearguard. Indeed the only goal of the second period was for the home side, Garry O'Connor finishing with style after he sped away from Darren Dods after the former Hibs defender had slipped on the poor surface in 67 minutes. Saints showed some good spirit and a couple of goalmouth scrambles just didn't see the ball fall kindly to allow a shot at goal. Graeme Jones was booked late on but really this match was all about the first 45 minutes and it proved to be a dreadful turn of events which leaves Saints 12 points behind their nearest rivals and relegation to the First Division looking virtually certain.
Saints: Roy, Dods, Weir, Kane,Murray, Hartley, Parker, Forsyth (Falconer), Youssouf (Jones), Lynch, Maher (Dasovic). Unused Subs: McCluskey, Cuthbert. Hibs: Colgan, De La Cruz (Townsley), Murray, Brewster(Hurtardo), Arpinion(Brebner), O'Neil, Smith, Jack, Orman, O'Connor, Caldwell. Unused Subs: Fenwick, Referee: John Rowbottham. Att: 13,731