Hibs v Livingston: Joel Nouble and Ayo Obileye injury update as in-form Livingston hint at different approach
Star striker Joel Nouble was left on the bench as an unused sub and centre-back Ayo Obileye, who scored an own goal, was taken off at half time, but Martindale appeared to suggest that both will be available to play at Easter Road on Saturday. “No concerns with either player,” he said. “Just a bit of game management.”
Game management was how Martindale described his team’s defensive display at Celtic Park. They set up 5-4-1, enjoyed just 23% possession and managed just two shots on target. It almost worked, but Livingston will be far more adventurous and expansive against Hibs. Afterall, they have beaten Hibs four times in a row and are two places and three points above them in the table – with a game in hand.
“You don’t need to be a mathematician to work out that we are above Hibs in the league and it’s probably going to be a more competitive game,” said Martindale. “Celtic are a good bit in front of us in terms of points and budget. Going to Hibs, we’re roughly in the same area of the league. There’s not a lot of points between the two teams. Our budgets are a little closer compared to going to Parkhead. So it should be a more competitive game of football.
“I’ve watched Hibs quite a bit this season. Yes, their league position is probably disappointing, if you are a Hibs fan, but I think they are still a very, very good team. They are going to carry a threat and we’ll need to be at the top of our game if we are going to take anything.”
Livingston themselves have proved this season just how good they can be and go to Easter Road in good spirits. Prior to the World Cup break, they were unbeaten in November with victories away to Kilmarnock, at home to Aberdeen and a draw against Hearts at Tynecastle.