Hibs pile pressure on Lennon
Strikers James Collins and Paul Heffernan heaped yet more doubt on Danny Lennon's long-term prospects as St Mirren boss as they gave Hibernian a 2-0 win at Easter Road.
The duo were combined for the first time a week ago as they both struck to confirm victory at St Johnstone and they repeated the feat to give the Leith side a third Scottish Premiership victory of the season.
St Mirren have taken a mere point from the 18 they have contested so far, mainly due to their shambolic defending.
Collins' opener after eight minutes was perfect example of how far standards have fallen since last seasons' League Cup triumph as Saints failed to deal with a long free-kick into their box.
And Heffernan's run went unmatched as he prodded home a second just after the hour mark.
With a relegation dog-fight now a real concern, the last thing St Mirren need is indiscipline but they played out the last three minutes a man down after Danny Grainger collected an unnecessary second yellow.
While Lennon's job security now reaches a critical stage, Fenlon bares the look of a man at ease with himself once more.
There were real fears that he would be the first managerial casualty following Hibs' humiliating 9-0 aggregate thumping to Malmo in the Europa League qualifiers and an Edinburgh derby defeat just two games into the Scottish Premiership season, but the win over Lennon's strugglers extends their unbeaten streak to five games.
The Saints boss was understandably desperate to change his side's fortunes and indicated that with his introduction of 19-year-old goalkeeper Chris Dilo as previous number one David Cornell was dropped.
The teenager's first act, however, was to collect the ball out of his own net as Saints suffered a defensive collapse that has been all too typical so far this term.
Michael Nelson beat Saints skipper Jim Goodwin to Kevin Thomson's free-kick, with his knock-down landing in the space between the Buddies' back-four and the young stopper. While Dilo hesitated, Collins was on to the loose ball in an instant as he stooped to head home the opener.
Having taken six games to get his first goal for the club, the B#200,000 signing from Swindon made it two from two after his strike against St Johnstone last week with the tension visibly lifting from his shoulders. The introduction of Heffernan following his move from Kilmarnock and his upturn in form has clearly not been a coincidence.
His confidence was clear to see as he exchanged passes with Thomson just outside the St Mirren box before spanking a swerving effort a fraction over Dilo's crossbar.
Saints started with a 4-2-3-1 formation but while their extra man in midfield should have given them dominance in the centre of the pitch, slackness at all the crucial moments made it easier for Hibs.
Another gift of possession set Lewis Stevenson away down the left five minutes before the break as he cut the ball back for Heffernan. This time however, Dilo was more assertive as he got a glove to the ball to deny the Irishman's low drive.
It was then Gary Harkins' turn to suffer a lapse in concentration as he switched off at a corner late in the half. His goalkeeper came to the rescue once more as he blocked from Scott Robertson at the near post, while Dilo had to produce another fine stop to deny Liam Craig's fizzing effort five minutes after the restart.
But the former Blackburn stopper could only stem the tide for so long.
Once again Hibs were let free to work the ball around Saints' box unheeded and right-back Alan Maybury, typically unmarked, planted a tempting delivery onto the toe of Heffernan as he darted near post to score on 61 minutes.
Yet Collins had another successful strike chopped off for offside as St Mirren's back four continued to act as if they had never met before. Hibs were swaggering and Craig almost bookended their victory 10 minutes from time with a sensational 45-yard drive as he pounced on Dilo's poor clearance before the keeper scrambled back to save.
Grainger's dismissal was an entirely unnecessary one as he first collected a booking for mouthing off at referee Steven McLean before collecting a second for petulantly blasting the ball at Maybury after Saints were awarded a free-kick.