Alan Stubbs today hailed Hibs’ first home win in six months but admitted his Easter Road outfit’s victory was down to a huge slice of luck as goalkeeper Mark Oxley proved to be the unlikely hero.
The on-loan Hull City keeper scored just three minutes after Farid El Alagui had put Hibs ahead against Livingston, his huge clearance deceiving his opposite number Darren Jamieson who could only look on in horror as the ball sailed over his head and into the empty net.
But it proved to be crucial as the Capital side failed to take full advantage of those two quick-fire strikes and were then forced to live on their nerves after Declan Gallagher pulled one back for the Lions.
However, while conceding his players could have made life a little bit easier for themselves, the new head coach was just delighted to collect three points from his first Championship match, Hibs’ first victory at home since beating Ross County 2-1 in mid-February.
He said: “It’s great, fantastic, it really is. We only won a few games here last season so we are not far from achieving that target straight away. It’s really positive to finish our first game of the season with a good result at home. Three points was what I was wanting before a whistle was blown.
“We could have made it a little bit easier for ourselves but if we thought Livingston were just going to lie down and let it go three and four then we would have been kidding ourselves on.
“We had some good opportunities at 2-0 to put the game to bed but while I congratulated the players afterwards, I also told them we need to be ruthless because football is a horrible game at times. It can suddenly lure you into a false sense of security, you feel like the game is won and before you know it you are on the back foot.”
Stubbs had some sympathy for the red-faced Jamieson. Recalling seeing Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard score against Bolton a couple of years ago, he said: “That was on a windy day, Saturday wasn’t that windy. Mark has just caught one, and their goalkeeper has misjudged it.
“I didn’t think for a second it was going to end up in the back of the net, but it was just one of those freak incidents.
“A slight hesitation has proved costly. I’m disappointed for their lad, but delighted for my players because they have tasted something they didn’t have too much of last season, not just them but the fans too.”
Meanwhile, Falkirk have appointed Hibs’ head of academy coaching James McDonaugh as their new first-team coach. McDonaugh’s position had been the subject of intense speculation as chief executive Leeann Dempster continues her restructuring of the club.
Hibs’ Under-20 side open their season away to Aberdeen, at Brechin’s Glebe Park (6 pm kick-off). Jason Cummings and Scott Allen are expected to play as they continue to seek full fitness.