Scottish Premiership
HibernianHibernian2LivingstonLivingston2

Hibs 2-2 Livingston: Martin Boyle nets late leveller on comeback

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland at Easter Road

Martin Boyle scored in stoppage-time on his comeback from injury as Hibernian salvaged an unlikely point against Livingston at Easter Road.

Head coach Paul Heckingbottom was met with chants of "you're getting sacked in the morning" in front of American owner Ron Gordon after first-half goals by Steven Lawless and Craig Sibbald.

However, Scott Allan pulled one back after winning a contentious penalty and Boyle - in his first game since July - netted in the final seconds to edge Hibs up to ninth place.

Heckingbottom's side, though, have failed to win in 10 league matches and face Celtic in the League Cup semi-finals at Hampden on Saturday.

The former Barnsley and Leeds United boss guided the Easter Road side to a fifth-place finish last term after taking charge in February, but has gathered just nine points in 11 games this season.

The late leveller denies Livingston a first win at Easter Road since April 2005 but does move the West Lothian side into the top half of the division.

Boyle strikes to save Heckingbottom

The fragility of the Hibernian defence has been evident in recent weeks as they have gifted goals and opportunities to their opponents and that habit continued against Livingston.

Scott Pittman was allowed room to fire in an effort after just three minutes that beat Chris Maxwell only for Tom James to clear off the line. And, moments later, Lawless was inches away with a volley.

Hibernian responded with shots from Glenn Middleton and James that Matija Sarkic in the Livingston goal did well to save, but the visitors could sense Hibs' unease and grabbed the opener seven minutes before the break.

Hakeem Odoffin's cross from the right was only half cleared and Lawless took one touch before firing home. His effort cannoned against Paul Hanlon, but the midfielder will certainly claim the credit.

Three minutes later, the lead was doubled when the home defence again failed to deal with a ball into the danger area and Sibbald picked his spot into the top left-hand corner.

As he was wickedly serenaded by the visiting fans, the pressure was clearly mounting on Heckingbottom. He withdrew Middleton at the break in favour of Flo Kamberi and, 17 minutes after the restart, Hibs managed to pull one back.

Marvin Bartley was adjudged to have clipped the heels of Allan just inside the box and the midfielder picked himself up to smash the spot kick high into the top left-hand corner.

Hanlon should have levelled moments later, but he inexplicably headed over from inside the six yard box when it looked simpler to score.

But the miss of the season so far came at the other end. Stevie Mallan's pass back was intercepted by Scott Tiffoney, who rounded the keeper. However, with an empty goal in front of him, he contrived to slide the ball wide of the target.

Heckingbottom introduced Boyle with 10 minutes left for his first appearance since suffering a knee injury against Elgin City in July.

And his pace was to be pivotal as he ran through on goal and slid the ball beyond the advancing Sarkic to rescue a point and possibly his manager's job.

Paul Heckingbottom

Man of the match - Matija Sarkic

Livingston goalkeeper Sarkic celebrated his call-up to the Montenegro international set-up with a fine display. The 22-year-old had a splendid first half, with saves from Glenn Middleton and Scott Allan.

Then came his best moment of the match. Hibs worked a corner well to the edge of the box and Tom James lashed an effort that looked destined for the top corner, only for Sarkic to deny him with a stunning fingertip save to tip the ball over the bar.

In the second half, he make further smart saves - most notably from Daryl Horgan and Kamberi - and he could do nothing about either Hibs goal.

'It shouldn't take a change' - reaction

Hibs head coach Paul Heckingbottom: "I'm frustrated because why should it take a tactical change or a bollocking to get people playing the way they should? It should not take that.

"I'll watch the game back and I know in the first half I'll see some positives but I'll also see players not 100% committed, and the second half proves that."

Livingston manager Gary Holt: "I'm frustrated and annoyed because it's a simple goal we've conceded at the end and we should've defended better.

"We struggled to cope with Hibs in the second half, maybe playing against Hearts with 10 men last Saturday took its toll on us. But even at that, we missed too many chances."

Line-ups

Hibernian

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 28Maxwell
  • 17James
  • 25Porteous
  • 4Hanlon
  • 16Stevenson
  • 14Mallan
  • 20HallbergSubstituted forBoyleat 80'minutes
  • 7Horgan
  • 23Allan
  • 19MiddletonSubstituted forKamberiat 45'minutes
  • 9DoidgeBooked at 36mins

Substitutes

  • 1Marciano
  • 6Vela
  • 10Boyle
  • 11Newell
  • 18Jackson
  • 21Naismith
  • 22Kamberi

Livingston

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 30Sarkic
  • 14Odoffin
  • 4Lithgow
  • 27Guthrie
  • 21McMillan
  • 6Bartley
  • 16Crawford
  • 11LawlessSubstituted forJacobsat 76'minutes
  • 8Pittman
  • 10SibbaldSubstituted forLamieat 58'minutes
  • 17RobinsonBooked at 27minsSubstituted forTiffoneyat 66'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Stewart
  • 5Lamie
  • 7Jacobs
  • 22Tiffoney
  • 31Stobbs
  • 33Lawson
Referee:
Gavin Duncan
Attendance:
14,662

Match Stats

Home TeamHibernianAway TeamLivingston
Possession
Home65%
Away35%
Shots
Home20
Away13
Shots on Target
Home9
Away5
Corners
Home10
Away5
Fouls
Home10
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Hibernian 2, Livingston 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Hibernian 2, Livingston 2.

  3. Goal!

    Goal! Hibernian 2, Livingston 2. Martin Boyle (Hibernian) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Stephen Mallan.

  4. Post update

    Lewis Stevenson (Hibernian) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Robbie Crawford (Livingston).

  6. Post update

    Attempt saved. Florian Kamberi (Hibernian) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Scott Allan with a through ball.

  7. Post update

    Hand ball by Scott Tiffoney (Livingston).

  8. Post update

    Attempt saved. Daryl Horgan (Hibernian) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Paul Hanlon.

  9. Post update

    Offside, Livingston. Marvin Bartley tries a through ball, but Scott Tiffoney is caught offside.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Scott Allan (Hibernian).

  11. Post update

    Scott Tiffoney (Livingston) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Scott Tiffoney (Livingston) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Keaghan Jacobs following a fast break.

  13. Post update

    Attempt saved. Keaghan Jacobs (Livingston) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

  14. Post update

    Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Alan Lithgow.

  15. Post update

    Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Marvin Bartley.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Hibernian. Martin Boyle replaces Melker Hallberg.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Alan Lithgow.

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ryan Porteous (Hibernian) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Daryl Horgan with a cross following a corner.

  19. Post update

    Corner, Hibernian. Conceded by Jack McMillan.

  20. Post update

    Stephen Mallan (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the attacking half.