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Hibs move to within one point of Rangers in race for second place

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Hibs moved to within one point of Rangers in the Championship with a comfortable 3-1 win over Livingston at the Energy Assets Arena tonight.

Head Coach Alan Stubbs made one change to the starting XI that lost to Falkirk in the Scottish Cup semi-final on Saturday with Martin Boyle replacing the suspended Scott Allan.

Former Hibs’ defender Brad Donaldson started for Livingston.

Hibs grabbed an early lead in the 7th minute when Jordon Forster did well to control a Livingston clearance before finding Dylan McGeouch. The on-loan Celtic midfielder played a neat one-two with Jason Cummings (pictured) then found Scott Robertson who calmly slotted the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the net from the edge of the box.

Livingston fought back and equalised in the 13th minute when a long speculative ball was misjudged by Paul Hanlon and Forster allowing Myles Hippolyte to volley the ball past Mark Oxley high into the net.

A minute later, during the next passage of play, Hibs regained the lead. Liam Fontaine picked up the ball on the half way line before surging forward and finding Farid El Alagui on the edge of the box. The big striker flicked the ball into the path of Jason Cummings but the teenager’s shot was blocked however he was first to react to the rebound and hammered the ball home from the penalty spot.

Hibs were then denied a blatant penalty when Darren Cole handled the ball to prevent a cross from Boyle at least two yards inside the penalty box. Referee Andrew Dallas however decided that the infringement took place outside the area and awarded a free kick before booking Cole.

Hanlon followed Cole into the book when he was harshly shown a yellow card for handball on the halfway line, then Donaldson was booked for a foul on Robertson.

Just before the break, Livingston were reduced to ten men when Cole lunged into a reckless tackle on Cummings just outside the area and the referee had no hesitation in producing a second yellow.

Hibs had a chance to wrap things up in the 57th minute when McGeouch was brought down inside the area by Ky Jacobs and the referee pointed to the penalty spot despite protests from the Livingston players. McGeouch took the resultant spot kick which he sent high to the keepers right, but Darren Jamieson produced a fine save to keep the score at 2-1.

Dominique Malonga replaced El Alagui then Franck Dje Djedje replaced Cummings as Hibs looked to extend their lead.

Fraser Fyvie then sent a dangerous cross into the box which Malonga headed over the keeper, but the ball was cleared off the line, then Malonga set up Boyle but his effort was blocked by the keeper.

With nine minutes remaining Hibs grabbed a third when Fyvie found Malonga on the right wing. The striker carried the ball into the box twisting and turning the Livingston defenders before slotting the ball past Jamieson into the net.

Liam Craig replaced Fyvie as Hibs held on to secure the three points.

Livingston: Jamieson, Cole, Fordyce, Jacobs, O’Brien, Hippolyte, Gallagher, White, Mullen, Donaldson, Pittman. Subs: Walker, Boulding, McKenna, Glen, Beaumont, Currie, Sokajja

Hibs: Oxley, Forster, Hanlon, Fontaine, Stevenson, Boyle, Robertson, McGeouch,Fyvie, El Alagui, Cummings. Subs: Cerny, Craig, Stanton, Handling, Malonga, Djedje, Dunsmore

Referee: Andrew Dallas

Attendance: 2301

 

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