It’s a local derby of sorts this weekend as we welcome Hibernian to the Tony Macaroni Arena for a competitive top flight match for the first time in almost 13 years.
Not since an agonising 2-1 defeat under Paul Lambert in November 2005 have the Hibees made the trip to West Lothian on Premiership business, though the two sides did meet at Easter Road in Betfred Cup action last season as well as our two shared seasons in the Championship.
Hibs won promotion to the Premiership a season before the Lions and went on to secure a fourth-placed finish in their first season back in the top flight, booking their return to the Europa League in doing so.
After a strong start to the season for Neil Lennon’s side, there’s no doubting that a tough afternoon lies in store for the Lions so let’s look ahead to the big match!
How have the Hibees done so far this season?
Hibs’ season got started back on 12 July as they took on Faroese outfit NSÍ Runavik in what turned out to be an extraordinary tie in the first qualifying round of the Europa League. The two-legged tie ended up looking more like a tennis match than a football one as the Hibees followed a 6-1 home win with a bizarre 6-4 success in Toftir, Florian Kamberi and Stevie Mallan both scoring three times across the two legs.
That took Neil Lennon’s side through to a clash with Greek side Asteras Tripolis and, after looking dead buried at half time in the first leg as they trailed 2-0 at Easter Road, Hibs stormed back to claim an impressive win thanks to goals from Efe Ambrose, David Gray and an injury time winner from Kamberi. The now-departed John McGinn struck the crucial goal in Greece to send them through.
Norwegian side Molde proved to be a step too far as, after a goalless draw at Easter Road, they ran out 3-0 winners in the second leg to send the Hibees out.
After their European exploits, Hibs have made a solid start to the Premiership season, following up a 3-0 win over Motherwell with consecutive 1-1 draws with St Johnstone and Aberdeen to sit in third place. They are also through to the quarter-finals of the Betfred Cup after a 3-2 win over Ross County, coming from behind twice before a last minute Daryl Horgan winner sealed a home last-eight tie with Aberdeen.
Is there any team news ahead of the big game?
Ryan Hardie, Raffaele De Vita and Craig Sibbald will once again miss out for Livi but new signings Dolly Menga and Bobby Burns are both available for selection after joining during the week. Lee Miller is also likely to miss out again with the injury sustained against Motherwell. For Hibs, new signing Mark Milligan is in line for his debut after signing from Saudi side Al Ahli last weekend.
How have the two sides fared against each other over the years?
The two sides have met a total of 27 times since first doing battle in the 2001 Scottish Cup Semi Final with the Hibees currently leading the head-to-head by 14 wins to 7, with 6 draws. The Lions won the first two league meetings between the sides, a 1-0 home win followed by a famous 3-0 victory in Leith thanks to a Davide Xausa double and a late strike from Nathan Lowndes.
Of course, the most famous meeting between the two sides (at least as far as we are concerned!) was the 2004 League Cup Final, where goals from Derek Lilley and Jamie McAllister saw administration-hit Livi win their first-ever major trophy. The odds were stacked against Livi that day, here’s hoping we can pull off a similar surprise on Saturday!
What do the bookies make of Saturday’s match?
The visitors are heavy favourites with McBookie.com at 4/5 to continue their unbeaten start with victory in West Lothian, with a Livi win available at 17/5. It’s 12/5 for a second successive Almondvale draw between the two sides.
A repeat of the Lions’ 1-0 win from the first-ever league meeting is available at 21/2 but if you think Livi are capable of repeating their last home league win over the Hibees, a 4-1 win back in 2004), that can be backed at a (surely too generous) 175/1.
How much is it to get in?
The admission prices for all home Premiership matches are as follows:
- Adults – £24
- Concessions (Age 16-18/Students/Over 65)– £16
- Under 16 – £10
Home supporters can purchase tickets from the main reception or by calling 01506 417000. Season tickets are also now ready for collection from main reception. Away supporters should visit www.hibernianfc.co.uk for details on how to purchase tickets.
To assist fans travelling to the match, First Bus are offering discounted tickets on services to and from Livingston. Details on these offers as well as the services which pass near the Tony Macaroni Arena can be found here.
As things stand there will not be a cash gate in operation on the day but please keep an eye on our website and social media feeds in case this should change.
What if I can’t make it?
Fear not, we will have live text commentary on our Twitter feed @LiviFCOfficial from 3pm, while extended highlights can be seen on ‘Sportscene’, which is shown on BBC Two Scotland at 6pm on Sunday evening.