St Mirren were edged out by Hibernian at The Simple Digital Arena despite a spirited performance against Neil Lennon's side.
The goal came 14 minutes in with the first chance of the game. An in-swinging corner from Stephen Mallan found David Gray at the back post who headed into the ground with the ball bouncing into the roof of the net.
Almost 20 minutes in and St Mirren created a half chance, with debutant Simeon Jacksons cross just failing to connect with the boot of Ryan Edwards. The Saints attack was really struggling to breakthrough Hibernian’s defence.
Moments later and at the other end Hibs had another opportunity, this time Mallan found himself free on the edge of the box and just sliced the ball over Samson’s goal.
Saints rallied with Cameron MacPherson whipping a fast ball into the visitor’s box, just missing several St Mirren heads as it went out for a goal kick.
Just after the half hour mark The Buddies had their first real chance of the game. Paul McGinn played a one-two with Cammy Smith, Smith’s smart chip over the Hibs defence found McGinn, who fired the ball into the stand-off of his weaker left foot.
As Hyndman charged towards the Buddies box he played a pass wide to David Gray, looking for his second of the game, his low shot forces Samson into a diving save.
With seconds left before the referee blew for half-time David Gray made one last chance for the visitors - his low cross bounced around the box before it fell to the head of Horgan, who guided the ball into the path of Craig Samson for a routine save. The Irishman would have been disappointed to pass up a great opportunity from close range.
It was a difficult first half for the Saints, but Kearney’s men started to come into the game as the half came to a close.
At the beginning of the second half Agyepong nearly made it 2-0 to the visitors. The winger intercepted the a loose pass from Lee Hodson close to the St Mirren box. The pacey winger got a shot away but Jack Baird threw himself in front of the shot to protect the St Mirren goal.
Simeon Jackson created a golden opportunity on the 50th minute as he looked to mark his Saints debut with a goal. He outmuscled Efe Ambrose and charged into the box. His low curling shot forced Adam Bogdan into a good save, as Hibs cleared the ball, barely preserving their lead.
St Mirren nearly found themselves caught on the counter. Agyepong was again causing problems, his break down the wing came to Mallan, whose shot just curved wide of the Saints goal.
The Saints had started to take control of the game, leaving Hibs to counter attack, with Agyepong continually causing problems with his pace. But overall the home side were starting to cause some serious problems. The only thing lacking is that final touch in the box, with a number of chances going wide of the opposition’s goal.
On the 77th minute Stephen McGinn swung a beautiful ball over the Hibs, with Cammy MacPherson running in behind to meet the ball. But MacPherson's touch could only guide his shot mere inches wide of Bogdan’s goal.
As the game entered the closing minutes the Saints started to really press the visitors, keeping them pressed within their half. But despite the late pressure Hibs were able to hang on to all three points.
For Kearney they’re still positives to take. Strong performances from both debuting Simeon Jackson and youngster Sam Jamieson will leave him with good options up front.
St Mirren: Samson, P.McGinn, Baird, Ferdinand, Hodson, McGinn, Flynn, MacPherson, Edwards, Smith (Jamieson 77), Jackson
Subs Not Used: Lyness, Heaton, Kirkpatrick, McShane, Willock, Erhahon
Hibs: Bogdan, Gray (Whittaker 64), Ambrose, Porteous, Stevenson, Mallan, Milligan, Hyndman (Shaw 64), Horgan, Agyepong (Slivka 84), Kamberi
Subs Not Used: Laidlaw, Bartley, Nelom, McGregor
Referee: Euan Anderson
Assistant Referee: David McGeachie
Assistant Referee: David Doig
Fourth Official: Kevin Clancy