Hibs secure top-four finish and European football after defeating Livingston

Hibs will play European football next season after a 2-1 win over Livingston secured their place in the top four of the Premiership.

Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 7:55 pm
Updated Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 8:03 pm
Hibs have qualified for European football.

The Hibees have achieved it with three league games to spare after goals from Kevin Nisbet and Martin Boyle ended the fifth-placed Lions faint hopes of catching them.

Hibs are now on 59 points in third place, seven clear of Aberdeen at the time of writing – they are currently in action against Celtic – and 15 clear of Livingston.

The teams that finish in third and fourth place qualify for the newly-created UEFA Europa Conference League. They will both enter at the second-round stage and would likely be seeded for ties on July 22 and 29, with the draw to be made on June 16.

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Hibs will now set their sights on securing their main objective of finishing in third place and also trying to claim the Scottish Cup. The winner of that trophy qualifies for the Europa League play-off round, the last stage before the group phases, and the loser of that match drops into the Conference League pools, guaranteeing European football until mid-December.

If Rangers were to win the Scottish Cup, that Europa League berth would transfer to the third-placed team in the league, as they are already in the Champions League, emphasising the importance of finishing “best of the rest” behind the Old Firm.

The Europa League play-off round takes place on August 19 and 26, with the draw made August 2. The Scottish club involved at that stage would be highly unlikely to be seeded.

Hibs’ last foray into Europe was in 2018, when Neil Lennon’s men made it to the Europa League third qualifying round after knocking out NSI Runavik of the Faroe Islands and Greek outfit Asteras Tripolis. They were eliminated by Norwegian team Molde, who had Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager and a young Erling Haaland in attack.

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How Hibs defeated Livingston to secure their European place