Hibs 2 - 1 Livingston: Hibees fight back to earn elusive win

Hibernian's Anthony Stokes (28) celebrates after leveling the score. Picture: SNS
Hibernian's Anthony Stokes (28) celebrates after leveling the score. Picture: SNS
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  • Hibs scorers: Stokes 74, Boyle 78
  • Livingston scorers: White 23
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Martin Boyle had come on with a point to prove and he rammed it home spectacularly from 30 yards out to give his side a vital triumph to get them back on track and quell the fans’ unrest.

With the score level and Hibernian staring down the barrel of their sixth successive league game without victory, the substitute unleashed a screamer of a volley in the 78th minute to ease the mounting pressure and move Hibs to within two points of second-placed Falkirk, with a game in hand.

It had been a timely intervention for the man who had been sacrificed from the starting line up, replaced by Farid El Alagui. Then, when the French Moroccan striker had gone off injured before the interval, it was James Keatings who had been given the nod but 11 minutes after he joined the fray, he had helped Hibs overturn the one-goal deficit.

Anthony Stokes had levelled in the 74th minute but it was Boyle intervention that elevated things and helped mask what was another mediocre performance.

But at least were Hibs able to draw a line under the recent run of results which had combined to render them no more than distracted also-rans as Rangers got on with the job of wrapping up the league title.

With only one victory in eight in all competitions, the dip in form had been described by manager Alan Stubbs as a blip, but too many more points dropped and it could quickly escalate into something closer to a crisis.

With games coming thick and fast, there has been little time for anyone in the Hibs dressing room to get too down on themselves. While certain fixtures could have been considered a formality earlier in the campaign, the past few matches have offered greater credence to old adage that there are no easy games.

Too many clubs still have something to play for and the desire to avoid the relegation play-offs can be a forceful motivator. Dumbarton proved that at the weekend and their rivals for the relegation play-off spot, Livingston, rammed home a reminder just 23 minutes into this one.

Livingston went into this one sitting second bottom, the three points would allow them to leapfrog Dumbarton.

Osman Kakay had prompted the panic in the home defence, when he got the ball in the area but he took an age to get the shot away. As he pondered his option, though, no-one in green and white seemed willing to take decisive action and although his eventual weak effort was blocked, it rebounded towards the unchallenged Jordan White who sent a dipping effort from the edge of the box past Mark Oxley to open the scoring.

It caused jitters in the Hibs team and provoked restless annoyance in the stands. They all fed off each other, giving David Hopkins side a spell where they threatened. Hibs needed to get control of the nerves and the ball and revert back to the kind of simple, sharp passing and crisp movement and link up play which had given them the platform for hope not so long ago. Instead, they were trying to force the issue and the fans’ patience was wearing thin.

John McGinn had tested McCallum in the second minute of the match, forcing the keeper into a diving save and there had been a couple of close calls with David Gray getting well upfield and testing the Livingston rearguard at the back post. But, while there were some free kicks in around the box and a few corners, they lacked a clinical finish. Little Hibs were piecing together would have worried Falkirk manager Peter Houston, watching in the stands. Not until Stokes finally found the net and Boyle added his own moment of brilliance.

Referee: Barry Cook

Attendance: 7,289

HIBERNIAN: Oxley, Gray, McGregor, Hanlon, Stevenson, Thomson (Boyle 67), McGinn, Cummings, Henderson, Stokes, El Alagui (Keatings 38). Subs not used: Virtanen, Fyvie, Handling, Gunnarsson, Dagnall.

LIVINGSTON: McCallum, Halkett, Gordon, Cole, Longridge, Kakay, Fotheringham, Pittman, White, Telfer (Knox 87), Buchanan (Sheerin 77). Subs not used: Jamieson, Currie, Neill, Mullin.