Livingston were deserved winners at the Tony Macaroni and should have won by a bigger margin.
Craig Gordon was easily the busier of the two goalkeepers with Livi’s Shamal George barely troubled despite huffing and puffing from the Jambos, who have surrendered third place in the Premiership table to Aberdeen despite a late, late Ross County equaliser.
There was early chance for debutant Stephen Humphrys. Gary Mackay-Steven went down the left and floated a ball to the back post, where the on-loan Wigan man was arriving. However, the ball was slightly too high for him to volley home on the stretch and he sent it high and wide from close range.
Barrie McKay then slipped a clever first-time ball to present Jorge Grant with a great chance. However, the midfielder’s finished wasn’t accurate enough and he sent a bending effort wide of goal.
Livi opened the scoring on 26 minutes. A somewhat soft free-kick was awarded against Toby Sibbick for a foul on Joel Nouble. The set piece was delivered to the back post where Cristian Montano stole in and fired past Gordon. The visiting players were demanding on offside flag, but replays showed that Humphrys was playing him on.
The hosts tails were up after that and Scott Pittman drove at the Hearts defence before working the ball left to Montano. He had a strike from a tight angle, but could only find the side netting.
It should have been 2-0 on 37 minutes. He burst beyond the Hearts back line before squaring for Isma Goncalves in acres of space. The former Hearts striker slid in and tried to guide the ball beyond Gordon, but somehow managed to send it wide of target with the goal gaping.
Montano continued to cause problems for Hearts. A determined run down the left took him into the box before he pulled back for Goncalves. He got a shot away but it was deflected wide by Stephen Kingsley.
Hearts weren’t much better after the break and had Craig Gordon to thank for keeping the score at 1-0. Curtis Guthrie improves well with a backheel after a cross from the right landed at his feet, but the Scotland No1 threw out a strong right hand to keep it out before gathering.
He was at it again with just over ten minutes to go. Pittman’s effort was goalbound until Gordon showed his agility to get a hand to it and tip it over the bar to make sure.
Match Report: Ross Pilcher (Daily Record)
Livingston: George, Devlin©️, Obileye, Se.Kelly, Montaño (Longridge 83), Omeonga ▊ (St.Kelly 81), Holt ▊, Pittman ▊, Penrice (Bahamboula 56), Gonçalves (Guthrie 56), Nouble ▊
Subs not used: Hamilton, Brandon, Bitsindou, Cancar, Shinnie, Guthrie
Goals: Montaño (28)
Heart of Midlothian: Gordon, Kingsley, Grant (Haring 56), Mackay-Steven (Forrest 56), Devlin ▊ (Shankland 56 ▊), Halliday (Henderson 83), McKay, Cochrane, Neilson, Sibbick, Humphrys (Ginnelly 65)
Subs not used: Stewart, M.Smith, C.Smith
Referee: Willie Cullum