Livingston boss David Martindale explains how he used four different formations to outfox Hibs
The visitors were on the back foot early in the game, but Martindale’s adjustments helped tip the balance in the visitors’ favour in the second half, with wingers Alan Forrrest and Odin Bailey causing the Hibs defence all sorts of problems on the counter-attack.
“I changed the shape at half time,” explained Martindale. “We started the game with a 4-3-3. After 15 minutes changed it to a 3-4-2-1 and then at half time changed it to a 3-5-2. Eventually, we finished the game with a 5-4-1.
“Changing to 3-5-2 gave up an extra body higher in Hibs’ defensive third and I think that put them under real pressure. We looked really efficient with the two up top and I don’t think they lived with that because we caught them a lot of times on the counter.”
The 3-2 victory was Livi’s third win out of four in 2022, with the only defeat a narrow 1-0 reverse against Rangers at Ibrox. The run also include the Scottish Cup victory over Ross County, but six Premiership points in January has lifted the West Lothian side up to eighth in the table, just two points off the top-six.
With home games against St Johnstone on Tuesday and Aberdeen on Saturday coming up, Livi fans may be looking upwards.
Martindale won’t be getting carried away. After all, he said last week that his team is in a relegation battle.
But at Easter Road Livingston did not look like a time battling to beat the drop.
Martindale pointed out: “Overall, we had around 19 shots and nine or ten on target, so I think we were well worth our three points. On the counter we look very comfortable, very offensive.”
Bailey, on loan from Birmingham, was at the heart of that, cutting in from the right onto his favoured left foot.
Forrest is reported to have turned down a move to St Johnstone last week after his club accepted a bid, but he looks very focused on maintaining his form for the Lions and was a thorn in the side of the Hibs defence, scoring a sublime winner.