Scottish Premiership
Livingston1Hibernian2

Livingston 1-2 Hibernian: Stevie Mallan winner sends Hibs fifth

Media playback is not supported on this device

Highlights: Livingston 1-2 Hibernian

Stevie Mallan netted a superb winner as Hibernian beat Livingston to move above Hearts for the first time this season in the Scottish Premiership.

Hibs defender Paul Hanlon sparked a dull match to life in 71 minutes, lashing home following a corner.

And Mallan skinned Declan Gallagher to add a classy second before Ryan Hardie netted an injury-time penalty for Livi.

Hibs, who replace Hearts in fifth, are now unbeaten in the league under Paul Heckingbottom after six games.

They remain well on course for a top-six finish with two games to play before the split, having collected 16 points out of 18 since Heckingbottom took charge.

Livi stay ninth and have won just two of their last 13 Premiership matches.

Quick Hibs strikes settle it

The Livingston drummer ensured there was a decent atmosphere at kick-off but it was the Hibs fans who were almost in full voice after just two minutes.

Marc McNulty did well to control a long ball upfield and knock it into the path of the advancing Mallan. The midfielder took a touch and fired in an effort that was tipped over brilliantly by Liam Kelly.

The home side responded well and good work down the left by Chris Erskine set up Craig Sibbald who blasted high ad wide.

After the energetic start the game deteriorated into a series of long hopeful balls with very little creativity from either midfield.

Just before the break, though, slack play by Florian Kamberi gave the home side an opportunity. As the Swiss striker tried to ease a ball out of play in the corner, Hakeem Odoffin slipped in and played a neat cross into the box that Hanlon sliced away for a corner.

The opening 20 minutes of the second half were poor, prompting both managers to make changes, and it was the visitors who eventually found the breakthrough.

From a corner on the left David Gray clipped a header towards goal that was blocked and fellow defender Hanlon was first to pounce, hammering the ball into the roof of the net.

Moments later the Easter Road side snatched a second. Mallan's wonderful touch inside the box took him away from Gallagher and the midfielder slipped a shot past Kelly from a tight angle.

Livi almost pulled one back when Ofir Marciano tipped over Sibbald's net-bound header. And Hardie also came close with a shot that whistled the wrong side of Marciano's goal.

Hardie did pull one back when Steve Lawson was bundled to the ground by Lewis Stevenson. Hardie sent the goalkeeper the wrong way with the spot-kick but Hibs held on for the points.

Heckingbottom's changes key - analysis

It was a game that for 70 minutes looked set to as a dour goalless draw, but credit must be given to Hibs boss Heckingbottom for the changes he made.

Throwing Vykintas Slivka and Fraser Murray on gave the visitors more of a physical presence in the middle of the park.

Hibs have recovered their early-season form and the fans can look forward to their final seven games with optimism.

The loss of skipper Craig Halkett through injury was a pre-match blow to Livingston boss Gary Holt such has been the influence of the in-demand defender. But they still showed in spells they can end the season on a high.

Holt will be working feverishly over the next few months to find replacements for his key men who will leave the club at the end of the season. But trying to find players with the same work ethos will be a difficult job.

'We had to up the tempo' - reaction

Hibs manager Paul Heckingbottom: "It was hard to watch at times and it's easy to to see why Livingston have been such a tough nut to crack at home this season.

"They made it difficult for us and stopped us playing the way we wanted to. We had to up the tempo and then the game becomes a lot easier. We're always chasing the team in front and we've gone up another place."

Livingston manager Gary Holt: "We created the better chances but goals change games. To be undone by that first goal is really poor. Those are the things you work against."

Line-ups

Livingston

  • 1Kelly
  • 14OdoffinSubstituted forByrneat 74'minutes
  • 31Gallagher
  • 4Lithgow
  • 5BrownSubstituted forLamieat 68'minutes
  • 33Lawson
  • 7Jacobs
  • 19ErskineSubstituted forHardieat 68'minutes
  • 8Pittman
  • 10Sibbald
  • 17Robinson

Substitutes

  • 3Lamie
  • 6Byrne
  • 9Hardie
  • 15Lawless
  • 21Stewart
  • 23De Vita
  • 39Wylde

Hibernian

  • 1Marciano
  • 2Gray
  • 24McGregor
  • 4Hanlon
  • 16Stevenson
  • 14Mallan
  • 5Milligan
  • 40OmeongaSubstituted forSlivkaat 68'minutes
  • 7HorganSubstituted forMurrayat 69'minutes
  • 22Kamberi
  • 9McNultySubstituted forShawat 90+3'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Bartley
  • 8Slivka
  • 32Shaw
  • 33Murray
  • 41Dabrowski
  • 43Mackie
  • 49Allan
Referee:
Nick Walsh
Attendance:
4,774

Match Stats

Home TeamLivingstonAway TeamHibernian
Possession
Home45%
Away55%
Shots
Home12
Away6
Shots on Target
Home2
Away3
Corners
Home6
Away6
Fouls
Home9
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Livingston 1, Hibernian 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Livingston 1, Hibernian 2.

Florian Kamberi (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Alan Lithgow (Livingston).

Substitution

Substitution, Hibernian. Oli Shaw replaces Marc McNulty.

Goal!

Goal! Livingston 1, Hibernian 2. Ryan Hardie (Livingston) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

Penalty conceded by Lewis Stevenson (Hibernian) after a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty Livingston. Steve Tevi Lawson draws a foul in the penalty area.

Attempt missed. Scott Robinson (Livingston) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

Corner, Livingston. Conceded by Lewis Stevenson.

Foul by Marc McNulty (Hibernian).

Shaun Byrne (Livingston) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Ryan Hardie (Livingston) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Delay in match Ryan Hardie (Livingston) because of an injury.

Foul by Florian Kamberi (Hibernian).

Steve Tevi Lawson (Livingston) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Corner, Livingston. Conceded by Lewis Stevenson.

Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Alan Lithgow.

Attempt blocked. Vykintas Slivka (Hibernian) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

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

Corner, Livingston. Conceded by Ofir Marciano.

Attempt saved. Craig Sibbald (Livingston) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Goal!

Goal! Livingston 0, Hibernian 2. Stephen Mallan (Hibernian) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lewis Stevenson.

Substitution

Substitution, Livingston. Shaun Byrne replaces Hakeem Odoffin.

Attempt missed. Scott Robinson (Livingston) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

Goal!

Goal! Livingston 0, Hibernian 1. Paul Hanlon (Hibernian) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Marc McNulty following a corner.

Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Alan Lithgow.

Substitution

Substitution, Hibernian. Fraser Murray replaces Daryl Horgan.

Substitution

Substitution, Livingston. Ryan Hardie replaces Chris Erskine.

Substitution

Substitution, Livingston. Ricki Lamie replaces Ciaron Brown.

Substitution

Substitution, Hibernian. Vykintas Slivka replaces Stephane Omeonga.

Attempt missed. Stephen Mallan (Hibernian) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

Paul Hanlon (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Keaghan Jacobs (Livingston).

Foul by Stephen Mallan (Hibernian).

Steve Tevi Lawson (Livingston) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Delay in match Ciaron Brown (Livingston) because of an injury.

Foul by Stephane Omeonga (Hibernian).

Ciaron Brown (Livingston) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Delay in match Hakeem Odoffin (Livingston) because of an injury.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic30224467165170
2Rangers30179466224460
3Aberdeen30157846341252
4Kilmarnock30149739281151
5Hibernian31139947331448
6Hearts30145113535047
7St Johnstone30125133039-941
8Motherwell30124143341-840
9Livingston31108133333038
10Hamilton3073202061-4124
11Dundee3046202462-3818
12St Mirren3045212157-3617
View full Scottish Premiership table

Top Stories