Aaron Taylor-Sinclair’s third goal in four games secured Livi a deserved point against Hibs at Easter Road to maintain their one-point lead over the Leith side in fifth place in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
After Robby McCrorie had saved Scott Allan’s first half penalty, Christian Doidge fired Hibs ahead shortly after the restart but Taylor-Sinclair turned home Stevie Lawless’ cross soon after to ensure the spoils were shared.
Gary Holt made five changes to his side from the narrow loss at Rangers the previous week, including a debut for Efe Ambrose against his former club. McCrorie, Taylor-Sinclair, Jack McMillan and Craig Sibbald also came in as Ryan Schofield, Ricki Lamie, Keaghan Jacobs, Robbie Crawford and Aymen Souda all dropped to the bench. Jon Guthrie took over the captain’s armband for the first time.
After weathering an early Hibs storm, Livi had the first real chance of the match on five minutes as Hibs struggled to deal with a corner and the ball fell kindly for Sibbald but he could only fire wide. At the other end, Greg Docherty tried his luck from 25 yards and forced McCrorie into a fine, diving save. Guthrie then made a vital interception to stop Doidge getting on the end of Martin Boyle’s cross.
The home side were handed – literally – a golden chance to take the lead on 22 minutes when Boyle’s cross was blocked by the arm of Taylor-Sinclair and ref Alan Newlands pointed to the spot. They couldn’t take it though, McCrorie springing to his right to brilliantly parry away Allan’s spot kick. The Livi stopper was at it again five minutes later, pushing away Boyle’s curling effort from the edge of the box.
The Lions were a whisker away from taking the lead on the half-hour mark as Steve Lawson let fly from 30 yards, only a fine fingertip save from Ofir Marciano denying the Togo international a first Livi goal since April of last year. Up the other end, Adam Jackson got on the end of Allan’s corner but could only head wide. Sibbald then latched on to a loose ball but could only fire high over the bar from long range as the scores remained level at the break.
Half-time: Hibernian 0-0 Livingston
The second half was barely a minute old when McMillan picked up the first yellow card of the game for a foul on Paul Hanlon and only three more minutes had passed when Hibs took the lead as neat play around the Livi box ended with Docherty firing a low cross in for Doidge to flick a smart finish past McCrorie at the near post.
The Lions almost grabbed an instant equaliser when Scott Pittman did brilliantly to pick out Taylor-Sinclair at the far post but he couldn’t get the right connection on his header and the ball drifted harmlessly wide. Hibs didn’t learn from that let-off and Livi drew level five minutes later from a near-identical situation as a fine, flowing move ended with Lawless curling in a fine cross and Taylor-Sinclair drifted in unmarked to steer the ball past Marciano from close range.
Hibs made their first change on 62 minutes as Fraser Murray came on for Allan, who had contributed little other than the penalty miss.
Hibs made their first change on 62 minutes as Fraser Murray came on for Allan, who had contributed little other than the penalty miss. The sub was quickly involved, finding space inside the Livi box seven minutes later and firing in a low drive that McCrorie did well to hold with Doidge and Marc McNulty both lurking. Livi then made their first change on 71 minutes as Jacobs replaced McMillan with Lawson moving to right-back. Jamie Gullan replaced Vykintas Slivka for Hibs at the same time.
Lyndon Dykes was replaced by Souda on 76 minutes as Lyndon Dykes was replaced by Souda on 76 minutes before Hibs’ final change saw Daryl Horgan replace Lewis Stevenson – who was a late call-up to the starting line-up for the injured Joe Newell – four minutes later. Pittman then had a sight of goal on 81 minutes as Lawless rolled the ball into his path but, under heavy pressure, he could only fire over the bar.
After Boyle picked up a yellow card for a frustrated challenge on Ciaron Brown five minutes from time, Souda saw the resulting free kick drift just over the bar and land on the roof of the net. Scott Robinson then replaced Lawless in Livi’s final change.
There was still time for more heroics from McCrorie as Boyle burst clean through by the on-loan Rangers man was out smartly to block his effort before Guthrie cleared the loose ball as Livi remained with just one defeat in 11 league games against the Edinburgh sides since their return to the top flight.
Full-time: Hibernian 1-1 Livingston
Hibernian: Marciano, McGinn, Jackson, Hanlon, Boyle, Docherty, Slivka (Gullan 72), Stevenson (Horgan 81), Allan (Murray 63), Doidge, McNulty
Subs not used: Bogdan, McGregor, Omeonga, Halberg
Goals: Doidge (50)
Livingston: McCrorie, Ambrose, Guthrie, Brown, Lawson, Taylor-Sinclair, McMillan (Jacobs 72), Pittman, Sibbald, Lawless (Robinson 86), Dykes (Souda 77)
Subs not used: Schofield, Lamie, Crawford, Menga
Goals: Taylor-Sinclair (56)
Referee: Alan Newlands
Match Report: Andy Crawford
Photo Gallery: Rae Irvine