Lee Johnson suffers his first Hibernian defeat in Premier Sports Cup



Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2022 by PA

Lee Johnson suffers his first Hibernian defeat in Premier Sports Cup

Hibernian manager Lee Johnson suffered his first defeat on a poor night for top-flight clubs in the Premier Sports Cup.

Aidan Nesbitt’s 39th-minute goal earned Falkirk a 1-0 victory over Hibs to send the Bairns top of Group D.

Livingston had goalkeeper Max Stryjek sent off as they fell to a 2-1 home defeat by Inverness while St Johnstone went down to nine men in a goalless home draw with Annan.

Hibs made a sloppy start at the Falkirk Stadium and Craig McGuffie forced a good early stop before Nesbitt sent a looping header over Kevin Dabrowski.

Johnson made four half-time changes but an offside flag came to his rescue after Nesbitt put the ball in the net again following Rocky Bushiri’s error.

Hibs put John McGlynn’s side under serious pressure but could not find a breakthrough. PJ Morrison made several good stops, both Ewan Henderson and Elias Melkerson hit the frame of the goal, Henderson and Christian Doidge each had efforts cleared off the line and referee Kevin Clancy waved away several penalty appeals from the visitors.

Doidge had a glorious chance four minutes into stoppage time but Morrison blocked his effort and Brad McKay stopped the ball spinning over the line.

Livi created some decent early chances against Caley Thistle but Robbie Deas headed against the bar for the visitors before Stryjek saved from Daniel MacKay.

Home skipper Nicky Devlin was inches away from scoring from inside his own half but Mark Ridgers tipped his audacious effort on to the bar.

Caley Thistle soon broke and Austin Samuels netted from close range in the 37th minute.

Stryjek was sent off for bringing down Samuels on the hour mark. Substitute goalkeeper Ivan Konovalov made good stops from Cameron Harper and MacKay before being beaten by the on-loan Hibernian winger’s deflected strike in the 67th minute.

Jason Holt pulled one back in the 84th minute but hit a penalty over the bar three minutes later.

St Johnstone had a couple of early chances in Perth but Dan Cleary was sent off in the 29th minute following an off-the-ball incident with Tommy Muir, who was booked.

Annan came closest to a winner when Josh Galloway hit the outside of a post and Cammy MacPherson was shown a straight red card late on following a challenge on Aidan Smith.

Saints also endured disappointment in the penalty shoot-out with Annan claiming the bonus point thanks to misses from Michael O’Halloran and Andrew Considine.

Annan top Group F having already beaten Queen of the South, who bounced back with a 3-0 win at Ayr thanks to goals from Lee Connell, Connor Murray and Josh Todd.

There were also big wins for Dunfermline, Hamilton and Queen’s Park. The Pars beat Buckie 5-0, Hamilton thrashed Stranraer 5-2 and Queen’s Park maintained their 100 per cent record with a 4-1 victory over Forfar.

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