Livi claimed a fine away point at Easter Road as Ryan Hardie’s fourth goal in three games helped ensure that they would spend Christmas in the top six of the Ladbrokes Premiership.
After Hardie had given the Lions the lead eleven minutes after the restart, Liam Kelly saved a Florian Kamberi penalty but the home side salvaged a point ten minutes from time through Ryan Porteous.
The Lions made one change from the hammering of Hearts as Scott Robinson came in for Nicky Cadden but the change had to be reversed after just 20 minutes as Robinson suffered an injury, leading to Cadden entering the fray.
By then, the home side had already gone close to an opener a minute earlier when Emerson Hyndman released Martin Boyle down the right and he drove into the box before firing in a low strike that was brilliantly kept out by Kelly low to his right. Kelly produced another fine save on 22 minutes, getting down to push an Oli Shaw effort wide before Darren McGregor headed the resultant corner over.
Livi had their first sight of goal soon after as Cadden’s free kick from the right was met by Hardie but his glancing header drifted across goal and wide. Cadden then sent Hardie scampering down the right to fire in a low cross that fell to Dolly Menga but, after taking a touch, he could only curl his effort high over the bar. Menga then needed treatment after being launched into the advertising boards by Efe Ambrose but was OK to continue.
Hardie went close again for the Lions on 34 minutes when he got in down the right and did brilliantly to cut inside to find a shooting angle but he didn’t get the connection he was looking for and Adam Bogdan saved comfortably. Livi then had a big chance seven minutes later when Cadden sent in a wicked cross from the left that found Pittman but he couldn’t force the ball home from close range and Hibs were able to clear.
Ryan Porteous picked up a yellow card for a lunge on Dolly Menga on 42 minutes before the Lions had the final chance of the half when Cadden burst forward and fired in a fierce drive that Bogdan managed to gather at the second attempt to send the teams in level at the break.
Half-time: Hibernian 0-0 Livingston
The home side made a change at the interval as Kamberi came on for Shaw but, after Menga was booked for a foul on Porteous, it was the Lions who broke the deadlock eleven minutes after the restart when Declan Gallagher played a superb ball over the top for Hardie and he drew out Bogdan before lifting a superb first-time finish over the keeper and into the net from the edge of the box.
Livi made their second change two minutes later as Lee Miller made a welcome return following a four-month injury lay-off in place of Menga. Hibs followed suit on 66 minutes when Daryl Horgan came on for Hyndman.
The home side were handed a golden chance to draw level on 68 minutes as they were awarded a penalty kick when Alan Lithgow was adjudged to have brought down Boyle. Replays suggested the Livi man may have won the ball but it was easy to see, on real time viewing, why the referee pointed to the spot. The debate was rendered moot as Kamberi’s spot kick was tame and Kelly got down low to his right to push it away comfortably.
Hardie picked up a yellow card on 71 minutes before Kelly made another fine stop two minutes later, this time keeping out a close range header from Kamberi. The Lions then made their final change on 74 minutes as Hardie was replaced by Steve Lawson before Miller sent a header over the bar from Jacobs’ cross three minutes later.
The Lions had been doing a fine job of keeping their hosts at bay but they were finally breached ten minutes from time when a free kick was taken short to Horgan and whipped in a cross from the left for Porteous to send a diving header past Kelly at his near post. Livi responded well and Cadden saw a free kick saved by Bogdan a minute later.
Hibs’ final change saw Jamie MacLaren replace former Livi loanee Lewis Allan before they almost completed the turnaround on 84 minutes when Boyle went on a fine, mazy run that took him to edge of the Livi box before firing in a low strike that fizzed across goal and just wide.
Livi then perhaps should have won it a minute later when Steven Lawless got to the byline and fired a low ball across for Lawson but, eight yards out and with much of the goal to aim at, he could only send his effort over the bar.
Hibs had a couple of long range efforts in the dying minutes through Boyle and MacLaren that were easily saved by Kelly before Sean Mackie fired high over the bar in added time as the Lions comfortably closed out the match to take a well-earned point back to West Lothian.
Full-time: Hibernian 1-1 Livingston
Hibernian: Bogdan, Ambrose, McGregor, Porteous, Mackie, Milligan, Slivka, Hyndman (Horgan 67), Boyle, Shaw (Kamberi 45), Allan (Maclaren 81)
Subs not used: Dabrowski, Gray, Whittaker, Stevenson
Goals: Porteous (79)
Livingston: Kelly, Gallagher, Halkett, Lithgow, Lawless* Robinson (Cadden 22), Byrne, Jacobs, Pittman, Menga (Miller 59), Hardie (Lawson 75)
Subs not used: Stewart, McMillan, Sibbald, Hamilton
Goals: Hardie (56)
Referee: Greig Aitken
Match Report: Amdy Crawford
Photos: Rae Irvine