By: Hibernian Media on 22 Feb, 2020 18:04
Hibernian had to settle for a share of the spoils against dogged Livingston.
The Easter Road men created a host of opportunities but found Livingston goalkeeper Robby McCrorie in inspired form.
The Livi shot-stopper made countless saves – including from a first-half Scott Allan penalty – to thwart Hibs time and again.
When he was finally beaten – Christian Doidge notching his 17th goal of the campaign – Hibs’ lead didn’t last long with Aaron Taylor-Sinclair quickly levelling for Gary Holt’s side.
Hibs boss Jack Ross had intended to go with the same starting XI that had defeated Kilmarnock last weekend, however an injury to Joe Newell in the warm-up forced a reshuffle.
Lewis Stevenson was promoted from the bench and lined up in midfield, whilst his place amongst the substitutes was taken by Melker Hallberg.
Former Hibee Efe Ambrose started for the visitors and was given a warm reception by the near 15,500 in the home support.
Hibs started brightly and with plenty of energy, but it was Livingston who forged the first opportunity of the afternoon.
The home side failed to clear their lines following a corner kick and the loose ball broke to Craig Sibbald on the edge of the box. The former Falkirk man attempted to curl a low effort in at the post only to slice his shot wide.
Moments later at the other end, Greg Docherty attempted to follow up last weekend’s wondergoal with another this week and his 22-yard strike was pushed round the post by the diving frame of McCrorie.
It was quickly followed by another chance when Martin Boyle took a quick throw-in, played a one-two with Allan before hitting a low cross towards Doidge that Jon Guthrie did well to cut out before the Welsh striker could turn it in.
The home side were awarded a penalty kick in the 24th minute when Boyle’s cross was stopped by the arm of Taylor-Sinclair and referee Alan Newlands pointed to the spot.
Allan took responsibility for the spot-kick, playing it low to the left, however McCrorie guessed correctly and pulled off a brilliant save to thwart the Hibs man.
The miss did little to knock Hibs off their stride and soon after Boyle saw an effort blocked by Sibbald and from the rebound Marc McNulty’s first time, curling shot was kept out by a fine diving save from McCrorie.
Not to be outdone, Hibernian goalkeeper Ofir Marciano acrobatically kept out a thunderbolt from Steve Lawson as the visitors countered on 30 minutes.
It would prove brief respite for the visiting defence as Hibs were quickly back on the offensive with Adam Jackson heading just wide from an Allan cross.
In the final action of note from a pulsating first half Docherty’s delivery flashed across the face of goal and although McNulty got onto the end of it, his effort was saved by McCrorie.
After the break Hibs were quickly back on the attack and they were rewarded with the opening goal on 49 minutes when Docherty’s effort was turned in by Doidge.
Livingston had a great opportunity to restore parity immediately when Taylor-Sinclair ghosted in at the back post to meet a cross from Scott Pittman, however his header back across goal was wide of the far post.
Taylor-Sinclair will feel he should have scored on that occasion, however when he was given another opportunity just three minutes later, he grabbed it with both hands by netting from close range following a Lawless cross.
Hibs were enjoying plenty of the ball but little in the way of penetration as Livingston defended solidly.
In fact, the visitors could have snatched a late lead when Lawless cross saw Pittman get in ahead of Paul McGinn however he couldn’t direct his shot on target.
In time added on a terrific through-ball from Docherty almost saw Boyle in, however McCrorie – not for the first time this afternoon – was the Livi hero by saving brilliantly at the feet of the Hibs winger and ensuring his side left with the points shared.
Hibernian: Marciano, Hanlon, McGinn, Slivka (Gullan 71), Doidge, Boyle, Stevenson (Horgan 80), McNulty, Docherty, Jackson, Allan (Murray 62). Unused substitutes: Bogdan, Hallberg, McGregor, Omeonga.
Livingston: McCrorie, Brown, Pittman, Dykes (Souda 76), Sibbald, Lawless (Robinson 85), McMillan (Jacobs 71), Ambrose, Guthrie, Taylor-Sinclair, Lawson. Unused substitutes: Lamie, Crawford, Menga, Schofield.
Referee: Alan Newlands.
Image: Alan Rennie.
Report: Richard Payne.