Managerless Hibs produced their best performance of the season to demolish St Johnstone and secure their first away victory of the season at McDiarmid Park this afternoon.
Interim Head Coach Eddie May who took over from Paul Heckingbottom earlier in the week made five changes to the starting XI that lost to Celtic last weekend in the Betfred Cup semi-final.
Jason Naismith, Ryan Porteous, Joe Newell, Vykintas Slivka and Florian Kamberi all started the game and the travelling supporters were delighted to see Hibs start with two up front.
May was joined in the dugout by Grant Murray and Steven Whittaker whilst former Liverpool player Harry Kewell who has been linked with the post watched the game from the stand.
Hibs opened the scoring in the second minute after Kamberi robbed a Saints’ defender before calmly sliding the perfect pass into the path of Christian Doidge. His initial effort was saved by Zander Clark but the striker was on hand to tap in the rebound from close range.
Joe Newell almost made it 2-0 moments later but his curling effort struck the post with Clark beaten.
Naismith was next to try his luck from long range after a superb move involving Kamberi, Slivka and Scott Allan but syrike flew inches over the bar.
Hibs doubled their advantage in the 17th minute after Kamberi crossed from the right and Doidge got in front of Wallace Duffy at the near post to guide the ball into the net.
The hosts had a short spell of pressure without testing Chris Maxwell then Doidge almost grabbed his hat trick but Naismith’s low cross deflected off Scott Tanser causing him to miss the ball by inches with the goal gaping.
Hibs stated the second period in style and wrapped up the points in the 47th minute when Allan intercepted a pass from Matt Kennedy on the halfway line.
Allan ran 40 yards with the ball before firing a superb angled left foot shot beyond Clark into the far corner of the net to the delight of the fans behind the goal.
Kamberi almost made it 4-0 with a powerful strike which Clark saved at the near post then in the 58th minute Doidge rose above the Saints defence to head Naismith’s perfect cross past Clark and claim his first hat-trick for the club.
Kamberi nearly grabbed the goal his play deserved with a curling effort which shaved the post.
Doidge was replaced by Martin Boyle and left the pitch to a standing ovation from the delighted fans then moments later the Australian international set up Joe Newell, whose shot flew just past the post.
Hibs continued to press forward and Allan hit the side-netting from the edge of the area.
Stevie May scored a consolation goal for the Saints in the last minute.
After the game May told BBC Scotland: “They played with a freedom and style – and more importantly, with real quality. It’s not a case of them playing for me, they were playing with professional pride.”
The result sees Hibs move up to eight in the table.
St Johnstone: Clark, Ralston, Tanser, Duffy, Kerr, Wright (Hendry 46), Wotherspoon (Holt 67), McCann, Davidson, Kennedy (O’Halloran 61), May. Substitutes not used: Parish, Vihmann, Craig, Swanson.
Hibernian: Maxwell, Hanlon, Slivka, Doidge (Boyle 82), Newell (Horgan 90), Stevenson, Naismith, Kamberi, Allan (Mallan 90), Hallberg, Porteous. Substitutes not used: Marciano, Horgan, Mallan, James, Jackson, Shaw.
Referee: Andrew Dallas.