The Lions looked to bounce back from their midweek defeat to Rangers on Saturday after a late Scott Arfield side earned all three points for the league leaders. A trip to Easter Road was the test, which Livingston more than stood up to.
Joel Nouble was given his first start for the club after some cameos from the bench, and Alan Forrest was the second change. Andrew Shinnie and Bruce Anderson dropped to the bench.
Hibs started strongly and nearly took the lead after four minutes. Chris Cadden found Christian Doidge inside the box as the striker’s header hit the post.
It wouldn’t be long before the hosts did net though, as a couple of minutes later Demitri Mitchell had the ball in the back of the net. Another Cadden cross into the box found the debutant and his fires beyond Max Stryjek from close range.
Livi pushed forward in the hunt of an equaliser and were awarded a penalty immediately after the restart. Odin Bailey was fouled by Matt Macey in the eyes of the referee, but his assistant pointed out that the Hibs goalkeeper hadn’t made contact with the winger which led Grant Irvine to reverse his initial decision.
The man that would’ve taken the penalty, Ayo Obileye, didn’t have to wait long for an opportunity to continue his fine goal scoring form as the defender netted the equaliser on 18 minutes. Bailey’s free kick was met by the head of Obileye who looped the ball over Macey in no man’s land to get The Lions back on level terms.
Hibs went in to the break in front though as they retook the lead in bizarre fashion. Chris Cadden’s cross from out wide took a slight nick off Jackson Longridge which sent the ball over the head of Stryjek and into the far corner. The goalkeeper scrambled to get there but the conditions played its part as the ball swirled in to his frustration.
David Martindale changed his shape in the second half, and it proved a game changer as the visitors took control of the match.
Eight minutes after the restart, Jack Fitzwater equalised for The Lions with his first goal of the season. Nicky Devlin’s long throw was flicked on by Nouble, and there was Fitzwater to head home from close range.
Livi continued to threaten as they now looked to take the lead. Odin Bailey has one cleared off the line as the visitors ramped up the pressure.
The Hibees were on the ropes, and Alan Forrest fired in the crucial blow on the hour mark as Livingston took the lead. Putting in an individually outstanding performance, Stephane Omeonga won the ball in midfield and found Joel Nouble who slipped in Forrest on the left. The winger had it all to do still, but cut inside, beat Ryan Porteous and applied a trademark finished into the far corner to send the travelling supporters wild.
Hibs three everything at it for the final half an hour as Shaun Maloney’s side desperately pushed for an equaliser. A big chance came for Kevin Nisbet after a great solo run, but Stryjek denied the striker from close range.
Livi held on in the end to earn a massive win on the road, and a fully deserved one at that after a great second half performance proved too much for Hibs.
The victory takes Livingston within 2 points of Dundee United and Aberdeen who occupy 7th and 6th respectively. Importantly though, it creates an even bigger gap from the bottom two as David Martindale’s side continue their fine form and a surge up the table!
Match Report: Calum Brown
Hibernian: Macey, McGinn (Bushiri 22), Porteous, Stevenson (Doig 73), Cadden, Doyle-Hayes, Campbell (Mueller 65), Henderson, Mitchell (Scott 73), Doidge (Murphy ▊ 65), Nisbet
Subs not used: Dabrowski, Wright, Newell, Allan
Goals: Mitchell (6), Cadden (32)
Livingston: Stryjek, Devlin, Fitzwater, Obileye, Longridge (Montaño 45), Holt ▊, Omeonga, Pittman (Shinnie 76), Bailey, Forrest (Boyes 88), Nouble (Anderson 76)
Subs not used: Maley, Lewis, McMillan, Penrice, Chukwuemeka
Goals: Obileye (18), Fitzwater (53), Forrest (59)
Referee: Grant Irvine