Goals from Josh Mullin, Jon Guthrie and Scott Robinson saw Livingston run out comfortable and deserved 3-0 winners at Easter Road.
Hibernian never got into their stride and were outplayed on the day by David Martindale’s side.
Jack Ross made three changes to the side defeated in midweek by Ross County. Lewis Stevenson, Alex Gogic and Stevie Mallan all returned to the starting Xi, while Josh Doig, Melker Hallberg and Drey Wright dropped out.
Ross had intended on a fourth change with Ofir Marciano due to return from injury, however the Israeli goalkeeper was injured during the warm-up and Dillon Barnes continued between the posts for Hibs.
There was an early warning of what was to follow when a long ball forward found Robinson goal-side of the Hibs defence. The diminutive forward knocked it beyond Barnes before throwing himself to the ground and earning an early yellow card for simulation.
Livingston opened the scoring in the 8th minute when Marvin Bartley’s clearing header was hooked on by Robinson into the path of the overlapping Mullin, who smashed an angled finish beyond Barnes to break the deadlock.
Eight minutes later Livingston doubled their advantage when Barnes failed to clear Craig Sibbald’s cross and Guthrie swept the ball into the net from close range.
Mullin was proving to be a constant thorn in Hibs’ side and he went close to adding a third with a curling effort that was just wide of goal.
Hibs did have one break, which ended with Kevin Nisbet appearing to be bundled over by Nicky Devlin inside the visitors’ box, however referee David Munro disagreed and waved play on.
Livingston were soon back on the attack. A clearance from Paul McGinn was deflected into the path of Mullin off Sibbald, and only a fine save from Barnes prevented him scoring.
Hibernian had a half-chance to reduce the deficit on the cusp of half-time when Mallan’s cross was punched away by Max Stryjek, but only as far as Joe Newell who fired wide of goal.
There was no change to the pattern of play after the break with Livingston’s aggressive pressing continuing to pay off. They almost benefited from one in the opening seconds when McGinn was robbed of possession and Sibbald’s shot from 25 yards was just over the crossbar.
Just two minutes after the restart it was 3-0 to the visitors. A long punt forward from Guthrie was allowed to bounce by Ryan Porteous and Robinson nipped in to steal it before holding off Paul Hanlon and stabbing it beyond Barnes to score.
The visitors were rampant and twice Barnes was called into action in the moments that followed to thwart Jason Holt and prevent further goals being conceded.
The introduction of Jamie Gullan led to the young striker forcing a save from Stryjek and then flashing a cross along the face of goal moments later. Disappointingly, Gullan’s involvement was short with injury meaning the substitute was substituted late on.
In time added on a Mallan free-kick found the run of Porteous, however he headed wide.
Image: Alan Rennie.
Report: Richard Payne.