Hibs debrief: A distinct lack of pass marks, a game-defining 90 seconds, contentious officiating

A look back at a frustrating night for Hibs fans as their side lost at Livingston.

By Craig Fowler
Thursday, 9th December 2021, 7:00 am

Best player

Erm… do we have to name one? Urgh, all right, let’s go through the candidates…

Ryan Porteous had a decent first half. His passing from the back really stood out, especially as his three defensive partners really struggled with their distribution, while he did a reasonable job defensively. However, you could not say that about him in the second period, where he was beaten by Livingston attackers on four or so occasions.

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Livingston's Jack McMillan (centre) celebrates making it 1-0 as Hibs lose in Almondvale. Picture: SNS

Jake Doyle-Hayes recycled play pretty well in the first period but he wasn’t really involved all that much following the break. Partially this was to do with the system as Jack Ross went for broke and changed the shape into a 4-2-4 with Doyle-Hayes and his central-midfield partner Joe Newell left to fend for themselves.

Martin Boyle skied a penalty, which he won, high over the crossbar and didn’t have much of an impact in the first half otherwise. Then again, he was probably the only Hibs player who improved after the break, and if anyone was going to bring Hibs back into the game it was going to be him.

Darren McGregor played the last eight minutes and didn’t put a foot wrong. He also got a song from the Hibs support at a time when they weren’t in the mood to sing about anything. Sod it. Let’s go for him.

Key moment

It’s tough to go for anything other than Boyle’s penalty. The double-whammy of that miss and the Livingston opener being scored 90 seconds beforehand rocked the visitors in a way which they were unable to recover from, which is pretty alarming. It’s hard to imagine now after such a poor performance that things may have been different if either of those didn’t happen, but Hibs did start the game pretty well.

Ref watch

Don Robertson did not have a good game when it came to the big decisions. Boyle’s penalty looked soft, there was a later challenge on Josh Campbell which appeared to be a stonewaller, while Paul Hanlon should’ve seen red for a wild (not to mention last-man) foul on Andrew Shinnie. Hanlon, and Paul McGinn, were later sent packing for two bookings. At least those appeared to be the correct calls.

Benefit of hindsight

It couldn’t have just been this author who watched Stephane Omeonga completely dominate the midfield in this game and wondered whether Hibs should have tried to bring the player back to Easter Road for a third spell in the summer? Although he may be too similar to what’s in the Easter Road squad already. It’s a No.10 Hibs really need. Shall we go back to the failed Jamie McGrath transfer again?

Moment you may have missed

Not one moment, per se, but a trio that were all fairly similar and summed up the evening. The away side knocked the ball out of the ground on three occasions: twice through sliced Josh Doig clearances and once through a Scott Allan shot. And remember, this doesn’t include a Boyle penalty which would’ve went into orbit if not for the stadium roof.

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