Monty thrilled with show of character from high-flying Hibs

Marshall, Hanlon and bloodied Fish singled out for bravery
Montgomery and the Hibs players applaud the travelling support at LivingstonMontgomery and the Hibs players applaud the travelling support at Livingston
Montgomery and the Hibs players applaud the travelling support at Livingston

Nick Montgomery praised his Hibs players for showing character and quality in all the right places as they bagged a win that puts them ahead of city rivals Hearts in the Scottish Premiership table. Martin Boyle’s well-taken goal made the difference as the Hibees secured a 1-0 away win over Livingston in horrendous conditions.

But Montgomery was just as impressed with the grit and dig shown by his last line of defence, singling out club captain Paul Hanlon – back in the starting XI for the first time since October’s 4-0 loss at Ibrox – and fellow-centre-half Will Fish, who needed stitches in his head at half-time here, for praise. He also hailed veteran goalie David Marshall for his key role in a victory that takes them up to fourth in the league.

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Montgomery said: “I’m really happy to get the points because this is not an easy place to come. We knew we would have to match them for fight - and we did that.

“The conditions, the wind swirling, the pitch is really quick. We knew we’d have to get into our bunker at times and deal with those long throw-ins, balls into the box, direct balls. When there was no pressure on the ball, we knew it would come into the box – and they’re a really big team.

“But I thought we defended really well. Special mention goes to Paul Hanlon, Will Fish and big Davie Marshall for dealing with a lot of those balls into the box.

“I thought the back four stood up really well. It was a real team performance. You can’t come to places like this and have passengers.

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“Paul came back in and was solid with Will Fish. Will had a big cut on his head at the start, got stitched up at half-time and then won headers. What we couldn’t do was just get sucked into a fight, because those boys fight for David Martindale. You see that. But I thought we stayed composed and continued to play in the second half.

“If you go back four or five weeks, we conceded a lot of late goals from winning positions. That’s something we’ve worked really hard to deal with. So it’s great to get through the game today with a clean sheet and three points from a really difficult fixture.”

On the goal that separated the teams, Montgomery said: “We’ve got a lot of quality, we know that. If anything, we could have finished other games off without getting nervous at the end.

“But Martin is a quality player. He is a great finisher, and you want to the ball to land to the likes of Boyle, Vente, Jair, Elie - we’re blessed in terms of having technical attacking players that can punish the opposition. It’s a real tidy finish from Boyely and we’re happy for him.

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“It’s important in a good team when you have moments where you need to fight and get through those situations that can be a little bit uncomfortable. I thought we did that today.

“Our team has a lot of quality, spirt and camaraderie. I knew that coming into the club in the first week when I got to know the players. You need to fight at places like this, it’s not an easy place to come to in those conditions.

“A big thank you to the fans, it was nice to go over to them at the end. It was raining sideways today. We’re lucky to have that support.”