The Lions could have opened the scoring in the first minute when David Fernandez crossed to find Derek Lilley, but Lilley’s tame effort was easily saved by Andersson in the Hibs goal. An early warning for Hibs, but the Livi man should have done better.
It was Hibs turn to threaten next when Jamie McAllister made a stupid tackle on Hibs ugly youngster Scott Brown at the edge of the box. Hibs on form midfielder Kevin Thompson took the dangerous free-kick, but he saw his effort cannon off the wall, and the ball was cleared to safety. It was poor defending from McAllister, and he hopefully got his baws booted at half time as his stupidity could have led to Hibs taking the lead.
In the ninth minute Kevin Nicol's deep cross from the right picked out Riordan at the far post but he could only rattle the side netting from an acute angle.
The combination of Riordan and Nicol almost broke the deadlock in the 16th minute when Nicol's tantalising cross was just volleyed over by Riordan, a shot which would have beat McKenzie if it had been on target. Hibs were at this point in the game looking more and more dangerous, and they looked the most likely team to score.
Hibs were to be dealt a huge blow in the 20th minute when the influential Kevin Thompson was stretchered off after an accidental challenge with Lee Makel. The Hibs youngster was replaced Alan Reid, a move that was to see the Edinburgh dealers lose their momentum in the match.
The match was to change in the 26th minute when the Lions took the lead. David Fernandez got a hold of the ball just outside the Hibs penalty area, he saw Lee Makel sprint past him into the Hibs box, Fernandez who found Makel with a delightful overhead kick, the ball was inch perfect to Makel, who spotted Andersson off his line, and he brilliantly chipped the ball over the advancing keeper and the ball rolled into the back of the net. A great goal for Livi, and Fernandez once again showed his class, and Makel showed Davie Hay and Dominic Keane just how important a player he is.
Livingston were all over Hibs by now, and they should have doubled the lead with five minutes remaining of the first half. David McNamee found the bye-line, he crossed the ball into the Hibs six-yard box where Derek Lilley and Jamie McAllister were unmarked, but Lilley never saw his team-mate waiting to pounce and the former Dundee United man stretched for the ball, and saw his tame effort go well wide of the Hibs goal.
Hibs almost snatched a leveller just before half time. Jamie McAllister was easily beaten by Riordan, and the Hibs forward unleashed an unstoppable shot which beat Roddy McKenzie in the Livi goal, but the ball powered off the underside of the bar and was hastily cleared to safety by the shaken Livingston defenders. The Livi players and supporters welcomed the half time whistle, but the Hibs players looked disheartened when they left the field for the break.
Lee Makel had the Lions first chance of the second half when he found himself unmarked outside the Hibs box, but the Lions player of the season so far, opted to try and chip the goalie when he should have hammered it. The ball landed on the roof of the net from Makel’s chip, but the referee unbelievably awarded Livingston a corner after he deemed that Andersson got a touch on Makel’s shot. I don’t know what the ref was thinking, the dobbur must have been watching another game.
The ref at this point had lost the plot. He never booked anyone in the first half, but he made up for it in the second, booking 4 players in the first 20 minutes of the second half.
David Fernandez was getting frustrated by the presence of the Hibs defenders, the wizard was getting fouled nearly every time he got a hold of the ball, and his frustration boiled over after Ref Knob Underhill awarded a free kick to Hibs when Fernandez thought that the kick should have been awarded to Livi. Underhill gave Fernandez a lecture, pointing in the players face, and when Underhill ran away to start play, Fernandez sprinted after the tool, but the ref’s in Scotland have always been power happy, and Underhill flashed the yellow card at the annoyed Fernandez.
Hibs should have scored with 19 minutes remaining, but Roddy McKenzie was on hand to pull of a brilliant save. Reid fired in a powerful cross, and Elephant man Scott Brown headed the ball downwards and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal, but McKenzie somehow managed to claw the ball away from the line, and David McNamee cleared the ball to safety. A let off for Livi, but McKenzie once again showed that he is Livingston’s number one goalkeeper.
In the closing stages of the match, Hibs piled on the pressure and has some half chances to get a goal, but it was Livi who nearly got the killer second goal in the last minute of the match. The fourth official indicated that there was two minutes of time to be added on when Fernandez got a hold of the ball, the whole stadium saw David McNamee sprinting unmarked on the right wind, and Fernandez found McNamee with a perfect pass. McNamee was then one on one with the Hibs goalie, but he never made enough contact on the ball, and although Andersson was beaten, the ball just went wide of the target.
In all, it was a good performance from Livi, it wasn’t pretty, but the Lions fully deserved all three points.
Man of the match – Roddy McKenzie
Livingston: McKenzie, Rubio, Andrews, Dorado, McNamee, Makel, O'Brien, Lovell (Quino 73), McAllister, Lilley (Pasquinelli 82), Fernandez. Subs Not Used: Main, Scott McLaughlin, Brittain.
Hibernian: Andersson, Smith, Murdock, Doumbe, Whittaker, Scott Brown, Thomson (Reid 21), Wiss (Dobbie 88), Nicol, O'Connor (McManus 75), Riordan. Subs Not Used: Hyldgaard, Baillie.
Referee: J Underhill
Many thanks to Brian W for the photo's