But such is the nature of a high-octane season that has Alan Stubbs’ side competing on three fronts, the Easter Road outfit do not have time to wallow in the disappointment of delivering an insipid performance that warranted nothing greater than a draw at Livingston.
Their frustration at failing to find the net for only the second time this season was aggravated by the fact that leaders Rangers had dropped two points at Alloa earlier on Saturday.
“It was a bad day at the office,” conceded midfielder Liam Henderson. “The football didn’t quite click. You look at the best teams in the world, they have days like this where it’s hard to break teams down but credit to Livingston, they made it hard and they were really organised. We’ve played three games in a week and that’s just what happens when you’re in every competition.”
Livingston’s bright start to the match set the tone for a spirited performance by David Hopkin’s side.
Hibs striker Jason Cummings was guilty of missing a great chance from close range just before the break, while Lions striker Jordan White hit the crossbar in the second half before Gary Glen missed a sitter at the death. Stubbs delivered a candid appraisal of the game on Saturday, saying: “We didn’t deserve any more than what we got.”
Henderson added: “I don’t think we were distracted at all by the cup replay. We showed Livingston the utmost respect. Everyone was training hard and we did exactly the same things as if we were playing Hearts. We’ve been on a great run, it’s just one of those days. It’s disappointing given other teams dropped points.
Livingston defender Darren Cole, meanwhile, is delighted to be back playing after four months on the sidelines with a knee injury.
The former Rangers trainee said: “I had patellar tendonitis in the knee. During playing it’s actually okay but then after the pain is like toothache. I took time out and rested for about four months but it’s okay now.”
Cole said he was not even aware that a small section of Livingston fans allegedly directed racist abuse at him during the defeat at Dumbarton a fortnight ago.
Livingston issued a statement after the game urging their fans to help identify the culprits. Cole added: “I never heard anything but when I got home folk were texting me. It was wee laddies, it does not bother me. It’s not good hearing about it obviously.”