Scottish Championship
Hibernian2Livingston1

Hibernian 2-1 Livingston

James Keatings (left) is congratulated by fellow Hibs striker Jason Cummings
Keatings (left) is congratulated by fellow Hibs striker Jason Cummings

James Keatings struck twice as Hibernian closed to within two points of Championship leaders Rangers.

The clinical second-half goals were enough to see off a well-organised Livingston side that scored late on through Jordyn Sheerin.

Hibs spurned a series of chances but Keatings found his range for his fourth and fifth goals in two games.

The forward almost struck a second consecutive hat-trick but his late overhead kick bounced wide.

Hibs carried a sense of momentum and adventure into the game, having defeated Rangers, St Mirren and Dundee United in recent weeks, but enterprise alone would not be enough to overcome Livingston.

The visitors were organised, spirited and shrewdly instructed and found plenty of worth in playing off the tall, angular centre-forward Jordan White.

Livi were often capable in possession and White's ability to flick the ball on or bring others into play, along with Ross Millen's set-piece delivery caused moments of anxiety for the home side.

Even so, Hibs ought to have scored several times in the first-half and patience became the most critical asset for Alan Stubbs' in-form side, who have played one more game than Rangers.

Jason Cummings, with a goal in each of the last seven games, rounded the Livingston goalkeeper Marc McCallum only to shoot into the side-netting.

The glaring miss was early enough for Cummings not to be perturbed but he could never shake the hesitancy and wasted two more good openings after the interval.

The opening period was strewn with poor decision-making in the final third by Hibs' players; John McGinn passing when he should have shot, David Gray shooting when he should have passed, while Martin Boyle drifted around aimlessly.

Jason Cummings missed a hat-trick of good chances for Hibs
Cummings missed a hat-trick of good chances for Hibs

Livingston could have taken advantage just after the interval when they created a series of openings.

Darren McGregor was culpable when he conceded possession after dribbling out of his own area, leading to Scott Pittman digging out a shot that Mark Oxley had to dive to push away. The Hibs keeper then had to move smartly to save from Myles Hippolyte.

Dylan McGeouch then replaced Boyle and the midfielder brought drive and assurance to the home team. That seemed to free up others and Hibs were soon in front.

McGinn provided the quality, carrying the ball infield before releasing a reverse pass that sent Keatings through to finish crisply.

Having struck a hat-trick at St Mirren in his previous outing, Keatings' sharpness was evident and he created the second goal himself, side-stepping two defenders before rifling a shot beyond McCallum's reach from 20 yards.

There was joy in response to the piece of aplomb but also relief. In between the two goals, Cummings spurned his two chances while McGinn saw a fierce shot well saved by McCallum.

Livingston remained sprightly and two of their substitutes provided consolation plus cause for Hibs to worry late on. Liam Buchanan created the goal with a fine run and cross, with Sheerin sweeping the ball into the net.

Keatings proved to be the difference in the scoreline but McGinn and the introduction of the impressive McGeouch were also significant to a Hibs side earning its eighth straight victory and stretching their unbeaten run to 14.

What the managers said

Hibernian manager Alan Stubbs: "At 2-0 we were in command of the game and a little bit of carelessness let them in. We had plenty of chances so is 2-1 a fair reflection on the game? Probably not.

"We weren't at the level we've been at but the most important thing is we've won the game.

"Where we are in the league is irrelevant. All we've done is win another game of football and there's a long, long way to go."

Livingston manager Mark Burchill: "I felt we had a stonewall penalty and we had two fantastic chances before they scored - one-on-one with the keeper twice. You need to take those chances if you want to beat the best.

"I'm delighted with the performance level. I think we matched them in a lot of things, we just need to be clinical in the final third.

"It will turn, I've got no doubt about that. We're not going to be fighting relegation, I feel we're a middle of the table side."

Line-ups

Hibernian

  • 1Oxley
  • 2Gray
  • 24McGregor
  • 5FontaineBooked at 45mins
  • 16Stevenson
  • 17BoyleSubstituted forMcGeouchat 54'minutes
  • 8Fyvie
  • 3HendersonBooked at 66minsSubstituted forBartleyat 75'minutes
  • 18McGinn
  • 19Keatings
  • 35CummingsSubstituted forFeruzat 83'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Bartley
  • 9El Alagui
  • 10McGeouch
  • 20Feruz
  • 23Forster
  • 25Eckersley
  • 31Reguero

Livingston

  • 26McCallum
  • 15NeillBooked at 58mins
  • 14Gallagher
  • 6Gordon
  • 3LongridgeBooked at 9mins
  • 2Millen
  • 16Gibbons
  • 8da Encarnação Pires FariaSubstituted forGeorgievat 83'minutes
  • 11HippolyteSubstituted forBuchananat 68'minutes
  • 7Pittman
  • 9WhiteSubstituted forSheerinat 83'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Jamieson
  • 17Georgiev
  • 18Sheerin
  • 19Buchanan
  • 31Glen
Referee:
Craig Thomson
Attendance:
7,801

Match Stats

Home TeamHibernianAway TeamLivingston
Possession
Home55%
Away45%
Shots
Home18
Away10
Shots on Target
Home6
Away4
Corners
Home10
Away3
Fouls
Home8
Away17

Live Text

Match ends, Hibernian 2, Livingston 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Hibernian 2, Livingston 1.

Foul by Islam Feruz (Hibernian).

Ben Gordon (Livingston) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Fraser Fyvie (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Spas Georgiev (Livingston).

James Keatings (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Morgyn Neill (Livingston).

Marvyn Bartley (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Kieran Gibbons (Livingston).

Goal!

Goal! Hibernian 2, Livingston 1. Jordyn Sheerin (Livingston) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Liam Buchanan.

Fraser Fyvie (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Liam Buchanan (Livingston).

Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Declan Gallagher.

Substitution

Substitution, Livingston. Spas Georgiev replaces Hugo Faria.

Substitution

Substitution, Livingston. Jordyn Sheerin replaces Jordan White.

Substitution

Substitution, Hibernian. Islam Feruz replaces Jason Cummings.

Attempt missed. James Keatings (Hibernian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

Fraser Fyvie (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Scott Pittman (Livingston).

Liam Fontaine (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Liam Buchanan (Livingston).

Substitution

Substitution, Hibernian. Marvyn Bartley replaces Liam Henderson.

Attempt missed. Liam Buchanan (Livingston) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

Liam Fontaine (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jordan White (Livingston).

Attempt missed. Declan Gallagher (Livingston) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

Corner, Livingston. Conceded by John McGinn.

Goal!

Goal! Hibernian 2, Livingston 0. James Keatings (Hibernian) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Dylan McGeouch.

Substitution

Substitution, Livingston. Liam Buchanan replaces Myles Hippolyte.

Attempt missed. Fraser Fyvie (Hibernian) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Dylan McGeouch (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Hugo Faria (Livingston).

Booking

Liam Henderson (Hibernian) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Liam Henderson (Hibernian).

Scott Pittman (Livingston) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Liam Henderson (Hibernian).

Hugo Faria (Livingston) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Marc McCallum.

Attempt saved. John McGinn (Hibernian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Rangers1312013983136
2Hibernian14111227101734
3Falkirk1493227111630
4Morton156451515022
5Raith Rovers137061517-221
6Queen of Sth156271523-820
7Livingston1431101622-610
8St Mirren132471221-910
9Dumbarton133191124-1310
10Alloa141211733-265
View full Scottish Championship table

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