Craig Fowler picks out the talking points from Hibs’ 2-1 defeat by Livingston at the Tony Macaroni Arena ...
• Too dependent on Boyle
Hibs were at their best in the opening period. Though only Lewis Stevenson’s miss, right on the cusp of half-time, could be considered a real clear-cut opportunity, the visitors created several half-chances. Almost all of them, including the aforementioned Stevenson opportunity, came with help from Martin Boyle. However, while the winger yet again reaffirmed his value to the side, it would have been troubling for manager Neil Lennon that no one else was able to pick up the slack when the winger cooled off in the second half.
• Differing afternoons for the front two
Lewis Allan made a surprise start with Oli Shaw dropping to the bench. The youngster hadn’t featured for Hibs in more than three years, but he gave a good account of himself in attack. Picked for his physical presence against a bruising Livingston back-line, he held up play well and almost scored with a twisting effort which was saved by Liam Kelly. It was a rather more disappointing afternoon for his strike-partner Jamie Maclaren. The predatory hitman got little joy against the home defence and was substituted before his inexperienced partner. The Australian still appears to be getting up to speed after the World Cup.
• Hibs were weak in midfield
Livingston battled harder across the park and no more so than in the centre. Stevie Mallan and Steven Whittaker, in particular, failed to impose themselves on the game, both with and without the football. The area is in dire need of a commanding presence and fans will hope new signing Mark Milligan can be that missing piece.