Tuesday 5 July 2011

Livingston 2 - 1 Hibernian
HT (2 - 0)

Hibs made their first journey to the Braidwood Motor Company Stadium since a pre-season friendly which they won 2-0 back in 2007.

After an impressive showing against Dunfermline, Gary Bollan would have been keen to see his team start well and he certainly wasn’t disappointed. There was only 50 seconds on the clock when Kenny Deuchar put Livi ahead. A nice passage of play down the right led to Keaghan Jacobs delivering a deep cross into the box and Deuchar towered above the Hibs defence to head the ball past ‘keeper Mark Brown.

It was so nearly 2-0 shortly after when a punt from Tony Bullock was headed back by off-balance Hibs defender David Stephens and the ball looped over Brown only to bounce yards before the line and over the bar to safety.

Both teams had half chances before the Lions did in fact double the lead. One former Livi man, Michael Hart passed the ball inside to another, Martin Scott, who let the ball roll through his legs only to watch on in horror as Iain Russell collected it, strolled forward and thumped home a 25 yarder that flew into the top corner giving Brown no chance at all.

Bullock ensured the score-line remained the same as the teams went in at half-time after making a great save with his feet from a one-on-one with Ivan Sproule.

A true game of two halves with Hibs racing out the blocks in the second 45, looking a lot sharper and showing a greater will to get something out of the game. Bullock became more and more called upon and made two big saves early in the second-half - the latter of which seen him turn the ball wide as O’Connor shot straight at him from all of 5 yards after he was gifted the chance from Paul Watson’s miscued clearance.

O’Connor was to get the better of Bullock from his next attempt though. A quick free-kick caught the Livi back-line napping and a well worked cross from Daniel Galbraith was headed in off the post from O’Connor - giving Hibs even more of a lift as they pushed to get back on level terms.

The Lions however weren’t content to sit back and try and defend the lead and trialist, Colin Samuel tested Brown with a low drive after a fantastic long pass from David Sinclair. Deuchar then went close to doubling his tally for the night after being played in by Kyle Jacobs but the big front man fired high over the bar from a tough angle. Samuel was again involved as Livi went close as his knock on was picked up by Marc McNulty but his strike was saved at a second attempt by Brown who spilled the initial shot.

Hibs nearly found an equaliser after David Wotherspoon cut in from the right and rattled the post with Bullock well beaten.

McNulty then had two chances in quick succession to further the lead - a header and a long-range drive but Brown dealt with both comfortably. At the other end, Sodje missed a glorious chance to equalise, heading over after finding himself unmarked 6 yards out.

Livi held on for the win, giving the players a great boost of confidence and another 90 minute work-out complete.

Livingston: Bullock, Trialist (MacDonald 57), Talbot, Kn.Jacobs (Cummings 74), C.Barr, Watson, Fox (Ky.Jacobs 45), Sinclair (R.Gray 79), Deuchar (McNulty 62), Russell (Trialist 45), B.Barr (Scougall 30). Subs not used: Trialist, Turner, Jamieson

Hibernian: Brown, Hart (Taggart 34), Smith (Booth 45), Stephens (Palsson 45), Hanlon, Murray (Stevenson 45), Scott (Thornhill 37), Sproule (Crawford 62), Galbraith (Horner 68), Sodje, O'Connor (Wotherspoon 62). Sub not used: Antell

Att: 2213

Ref: W Collum

Match report by Dave Black