Josh Ginnelly produces 97th-minute heroics as ten-man Hearts rescue point against Livingston at Tynecastle
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The hosts were trailing deep into stoppage time thanks to a Stephen Kelly opener shortly into the second period. Livingston then wasted a golden opportunity to double their advantage as Kye Rowles was sent off for hauling back Joel Nouble but Craig Gordon repelled Sean Kelly’s spot-kick with his feet.
That set up the grandstand finish. After Livi had another penalty shout waved away, Hearts launched a final attack. A ricochet saw the ball break for Ginnelly and he lashed a finish into the top corner of the net to take the roof off Tynecastle.
It was the first game the Jam Tarts dropped points to a non-Old Firm opponent in Gorgie this campaign, potentially leaving them four points off third place with Aberdeen playing this evening.
Robbie Neilson’s side controlled the majority of possession and wasted several good chances but always looked a little suspect defensively against a Livingston outfit which routinely threatened on the counter.
The hosts were dealt a blow in the warm-up with Andy Halliday pulling up through injury. He was replaced by Cammy Devlin, who had initially dropped to the bench. Nathaniel Atkinson also came out from the team that lost to Rangers, while Orestis Kiomourtzoglou and Barrie McKay started. There was also a formation change back to the 4-2-3-1.
Lawrence Shankland had his first of several good opportunities on 11 minutes. After McKay fed Alex Cochrane, the cut-back found Shankland in plenty of space but he sent a first-time finish high and wide. Ginnelly had a chance three minutes later. Ivan Konovalov did well to stand tall as he raced to meet the winger, blocking his finish.
Shankland sclaffed a shot into the ground from a corner. The striker was then denied by Ayo Obileye when it looked like he was set to score from close range.
The top scorer was involved once more just before the half, taking too strong a touch from a Cochrane cross which allowed Konovalov to narrow the angle.
The visitors then had two opportunities in quick succession. Gordon spread himself to save from Stephen Kelly at the back post. Then, from the resulting corner, Ginnelly was forced into heading a Jack Fitzwater effort off the line.
Andrew Shinnie went close with an effort at the beginning of the second period before Shankland was again guilty of profligacy. After breaking the offside trap his attempted chip over the goalkeeper lacked conviction.
The away side took the lead on 55 minutes. Shinnie received the ball on the right, skipped inside Cochrane and fed Stephen Kelly. The midfielder was given time to dispatch a low drive in off the far post.
Hearts were almost level on 72 minutes as Rowles’ header from a Cochrane cross bounced off the top of the crossbar.
The hosts then went down to ten men. VAR intervened as replays showed Rowles had a firm grip of Nouble’s shirt. Craig Napier produced the red card but Kelly couldn’t take advantage as Gordon blocked with his legs.
Ginnelly wasted a glorious chance to level at the back post, while Shankland was denied in stoppage time by an excellent Konovalov save. But Ginnelly made up for that miss with his last-gasp heroics.