'Even the Hibs players admit it': David Martindale takes Livingston blame but says hosts were lucky to avoid further penalties
David Martindale took the blame for Livingston’s catastrophic start against Hibs – but insisted his team should have been awarded a further penalty at Easter Road.
The Lions went down 2-1 to Hibs at Easter Road after an eighth-minute strike by Kevin Nisbet and a 26th-minute spot-kick from Martin Boyle was enough to give Jack Ross’ men the win. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas netted a penalty of his own for the visitors on 84 minutes, but Livingston could not complete the comeback.
A brutally honest Martindale took responsibility for the set-up and shape of his team but claimed that the even the Hibs players confessed that there was a handball against Christian Doidge in the box.
"The first half killed us,” said Martindale. “We gave away a cheap goal, albeit a good goal from a Hibs perspective. The second goal is debatable. Efe's adamant it isn't a penalty but Martin will be adamant it is. I can see why it's been given but I think it's a wee bit soft. So the first half has absolutely killed us but I'll take the blame for that.
"I think the shape – or the personnel within the shape – killed us. I got that wrong, I got the starting XI wrong, the shape wrong in the first half. I tried to change that in the first half but by that point it was too late. I got the boys in at half time, told them under no uncertain terms what I was looking for, changed the shape, changed the personnel and in the second half they deserve massive credit.
"There were two penalty incidents in the second half and the boys are adamant they are penalties – a slide on Pittman that was a wee bit similar to Boyle's and there's a handball, and even the Hibs boys coming off the park are saying it was a penalty. Alan Forrest has a great chance near the end and he's got to work the keeper, I think he scores if he does."
Livingston now have a free weekend before their final three matches of the season as they look to fend off St Johnstone for fifth place.