The Lions put an end to a six-game winless run with a fantastic performance and deserved three points against Hibs, who finished the match with nine men.
It started as an even encounter, with both sides getting into threatening positions but failing to have any real clear-cut chances.
Kevin Nisbet had a header from around 12 yards that was catching practice for Max Stryjek, before Nicky Devlin was played in down the right after some good build-up but his shot flew wide of the target.
On 16 minutes, the match burst into life as The Lions took the lead through an unlikely source. James Penrice clipped a ball forward for Andrew Shinnie who reacted to a poor Paul Hanlon clearance. The former Hibs man cut the ball back for Jack McMillan who took a touch and powered a strike beyond Matt Macey to give Livi an early lead.
It was the 23-year-old’s first goal in 1093 days, with his last coming back in December 2018 at Pittodrie almost three years ago.
The frantic start to the match continued as less than a minute after going behind, Hibs had a huge chance to level when Martin Boyle went down inside the box which prompted referee Don Robertson to point to the spot.
Replays later showed that Boyle, unsurprisingly, had made the most of the challenge from Tom Parkes and that the decision was rather contentious to say the least. The winger stepped up to take the spot kick but saw his effort fly over the bar much to Livingston’s relief having taken the lead a mere 60 seconds beforehand.
The rest of the opening 45 minutes was quiet by way of chances as the hosts held on to their lead going in at the break.
David Martindale made a half time alteration as he brought Ayo Obileye on for Tom Parkes whilst Jack Ross also went to his bench, bringing on Scott Allan and Christian Doidge for Josh Campbell and Jamie Murphy which hinted at a change in shape.
James Penrice and Stephane Omeonga picked up early second half yellow cards adding to first half bookings for Max Stryjek and Paul McGinn before David Martindale was forced into another change as Craig Sibbald made way for Cristian Montaño.
The Colombian was immediately involved and nearly doubled his side’s advantage when he got in behind the Hibernian backline. The winger saw Macey coming out to narrow the angle and lifted the ball over the goalkeeper only to see it trickle agonisingly wide of the far post.
Montaño was involved again moments later as he danced his way through some Hibs defenders, showing incredible pace before just losing his footing. The ball broke to Alan Forrest though, and he continued where Montaño left off as he took on a couple of players before firing at goal. His strike was deflected behind for a corner.
Livingston were really increasing the pressure on Hibs and looked very likely to add a second with their dominance. A wonderful pass from Omeonga was brought down brilliantly by Shinnie who was through on goal before he was scythed down right on the edge of the box by Hanlon, who managed to escape with only a yellow card despite denying a clear goal scoring opportunity with his tackle.
The resultant free-kick was hit into the wall as Hibs got away with one, but the visitors did see red with five to play when Montaño caused havoc once more. The winger wriggled past Paul McGinn and was hauled to the ground by the defender who, having already been shown a yellow card in the first half, received his marching orders.
Substitute Scott Pittman, who had returned to the side after over a month of absence through injury, played in Alan Forrest moments later but the winger was denied by Matt Macey as he couldn’t find the goal that his performance on the night had deserved.
Don Robertson had his red card out again just a few minutes before time when Paul Hanlon brought down Forrest on the right-hand side. Some more terrific forward play by Forrest forced the Hibs defender to pull him back and the referee, having only opted for a yellow card for his earlier challenge on Shinnie, now sent him off as the visitors were reduced to nine men.
The Hibees threw everything at it in the dying embers of the game and, despite their two-man disadvantage, fashioned a late opening. Joe Newell’s long ball was cushioned down by Doidge into the path of Nisbet, but the striker’s half volley flew over the bar much to Livi’s relief as they celebrated a crucial three points.
The victory propels Martindale’s men out of that dreaded relegation Play-Off spot and up into 9th ahead of a tough test at Tannadice on Saturday.
Match Report: Calum Brown
Livingston: Stryjek ▊, Devlin, Fitzwater, Parkes (Obileye 45), Penrice ▊, Holt, Omeonga ▊, McMillan (Pittman 67), Sibbald (Montaño 59), Forrest, Shinnie
Subs not used: Maley, Kelly, Panayiotou, Anderson
Goals: McMillan (16)
Hibernian: Macey, McGinn ▊, Porteous (McGregor 82), Hanlon ▊, Doig, Doyle-Hayes ▊, Newell, Boyle, Campbell (Doidge 45), Murphy (Allan 45), Nisbet
Subs not used: Dabrowski, Scott, Gogic, Stevenson
Referee: Don Robertson