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Nick Montgomery praised his Hibernian players for recovering from top-six disappointment to convincingly beat St Johnstone 3-1 at McDiarmid Park.

Defeats by Saints at Easter Road and a draw at Motherwell earlier in the month helped lead to a bottom-half finish in the cinch Premiership and the Hibs board publicly described their manager’s failure to reach the top six as “simply unacceptable”.

They returned to form in the first post-split fixture with goals from Emiliano Marcondes and substitute Paul Hanlon before the break, while second-half substitute Dylan Vente fired in a third after 76 minutes before Saints substitute Benjamin Kimpioka scored a consolation in the 89th minute.

Boss Montgomery said: “I thought the performance was good and the result what we deserved.

“That’s not always been the case this season.

“We’ve dominated so many games on stats and possession but they don’t win you games.

“Putting the ball in the back of the net and being clinical in those moments does and we were today.

“But we weren’t as clinical as we should’ve been because, if we’re honest, we could’ve scored another four goals – minimum – but their goalkeeper pulled off some great saves.

“A couple of weeks ago at Easter Road it was a real deflating, disappointing result and again their keeper pulled off four or five great saves.

“We totally dominated. What might’ve been, could’ve been, doesn’t matter.

“What does is that we came here, showed good character and the boys put in a good performance.

“We come away with three points after what’s been a difficult couple of weeks.

“It’s a good group of lads, I’ve never questioned their character. The only question we’ve had is a bit of bad luck throughout the season.

“Sometimes you have to make your own luck, defend in key moments and probably disappointed we conceded the goal. Other than that, really happy with the result.”

With four matches remaining Craig Levein’s side are still just one point above Ross County in the relegation play-off spot. The Saints boss took some solace from the Staggies’ 2-0 defeat at bottom side Livingston although he admitted his side had lacked in several areas.

“Nothing’s changed in the table, has it?” said Levein, who revealed striker Adama Sidibeh had a protective boot put on his ankle after coming off just before the break. “In some regards we got away with one.

“It was frustrating. We didn’t start the game particularly well. Hibs scored a great goal at the start, but our decision-making and our execution of passes was really, really poor.

“We had a situation where we’d have two or three passes, give it away, have to run back the whole length of the pitch to recover it and then do the same thing again and again and again.

“We’ve had other performances like that and they have come back and performed really well for two or three games before maybe throwing another one in – and it is the inconsistency that is the nub of it.

“I don’t know if we are going to turn up and perform at a good level, which we have done on a number of occasions, or whether we will turn up and make poor decisions and execute things poorly.”