Hibs fall to 1-0 defeat in Livingston as Scott Pittman nets winner
Scott Pittman’s goal early in the second half was enough to secure Livingston victory over Hibs at the Tony Macaroni Arena on Saturday.
The midfielder finished high past goalkeeper Matt Macey from the edge of the area following good work on the left by Morgan Boyes and Andrew Shinnie, with Hibs unable to really test Lions debutant Ivan Konovalov.
Livi had never managed three consecutive wins against the Easter Road side ahead of this match but they made a small bit of history against a sluggish Hibs outfit that had the bulk of possession without doing very much with it.
Eighteen attempts on goal with none on target tells it own story for a team that has been in dire need of a striker for about the last three months.
Interim boss David Gray made just one enforced change to his starting line-up, Josh Doig returning to the team in place of the injured Chris Cadden, with Harry Clarke taking Cadden’s right-wingback role.
On the bench there was a welcome return for Demi Mitchell, out since mid-February, and veteran centre-back Darren McGregor.
Paul Clement, former assistant boss at the likes of Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, and Real Madrid, was the latest name to be linked with the vacant managerial post at Easter Road but there wasn’t much galacticos-style football from either side in a damp and drab first half in West Lothian.
James Scott had a couple of sights of goal but, as has so often been the case for Hibs this season, Lady Luck could barely muster a smirk. Shots were too high, or wide, or blocked by a well-placed Livingston leg on the goal-line. The hosts’ best chances fell to Joel Nouble who headed the ball over Macey only for Lewis Stevenson to mop up, and Shinnie, who planted a near-post header from a corner into the side-netting.
Hibs began the second period brightly and Joe Newell wasn’t far away with a fierce effort from distance although Livi had a couple of threatening forays forward that should have been a warning for the visitors.
It went unheeded, however, and the opener was all too simple for the Lions, Morgan Boyes picking out Shinnie who cut it back for Pittman and he hit a cushioned effort into the roof of the net from the edge of the area.
Substitute Alan Forrest could have made it two when Newell was slack with a backpass but the winger’s effort ended up in the side-netting to Macey’s relief.
Gray threw on Sylvester Jasper for Scott in a bid to freshen things up in attack and the on-loan Fulham attacker buzzed around in the final third giving the Livi defence something extra to think about.
Hibs did have chances after that, Melkersen firing wide and Ewan Henderson heading just over the bar moments later but a host of late set-pieces couldn’t produce a goal.
Mitchell entered the fray for the final minutes as Gray went for broke up front but to little avail.
Forrest could have added a second for the hosts from a similar range to Pittman but this time Macey, at full stretch, tipped over.