Scottish Premiership
LivingstonLivingston1HibernianHibernian4
By Keir MurrayBBC Scotland

Manager Jack Ross hopes his Hibernian players can develop a winning habit as successive Scottish Premiership victories put them top of the table.

"Winning the opening two games generates early momentum that you want to keep trying to build on," he said following victory away to Livingston.

A Kevin Nisbet double and a tap-in from Christian Doidge put Hibs into a commanding half-time lead.

Lyndon Dykes' penalty gave Livi hope before Nisbet added a late spot-kick.

Those three goals by Nisbet were his first since joining from Dunfermline last month.

While that was pleasing in itself for Ross and the 23-year-old striker, it was all the more impressive given the hosts' defensive record - last season they conceded only eight league goals at home.

"I'm delighted," Ross added.

"It gives you early encouragement that you can continue to progress but it's still very early. It's satisfying. The players are enjoying that winning feeling. I think they want to continue to have it."

Gary Holt's side had not experienced defeat at home in the league since November last season, when Rangers won 2-0, but that record looked imperilled at half-time by dint of Hibs' sharpness.

The Livi boss bemoaned a lack of "hunger and desire" in his players and warned that past achievements are of no value to a team seeking their first league point of the new campaign.

"Finishing fifth last season - that's done, that's in the history books," said Holt.

"That ain't going to keep you in the league. It's down to the players, down to the ugly side of the game. Put your body where it hurts."

While Livi had offered little in the opening half, when Scott Pittman tested Ofir Marciano with a low shot in the 46th minute it served as a reminder to Hibs that a goal could yet change the nature of the game.

Martin Boyle ought to have made it 4-0 to Hibs but scuffed his shot wide when he had time to pick his spot.

That lapse was made all the more galling when referee Euan Anderson awarded Livingston a soft penalty kick on the hour mark for a push by Ryan Porteous on Matej Poplatnik. Dykes slammed his shot down the middle.

Hibs benefited from their waves of attack when, in the dying minutes, substitute Melker Hallberg won a penalty for being barged off the ball by midfielder Marvin Bartley. Nisbet tucked it into the corner of the net to make sure he took the match ball home.

Man of the match - Kevin Nisbet

Kevin Nisbet scores his third from the penalty spot
Kevin Nisbet joined Hibs last month from Dunfermline where he had scored 23 goals in 32 appearances. In West Lothian, he oozed confidence, alert to the chances being created by Daryl Horgan on the left wing.

What did we learn?

For all their defensive talents last season, at times in this match it seemed as though the greatest barrier to Hibs adding to their haul was the artificial surface. Speedy forward Boyle was off and running in the second half but his attack was held up by the ball and in another attack a dangerous-looking pass across the 18-yard line fell short.

But in truth it was the Livingston players who were the let-down. They had nobody with the fight of Hibs' Alex Gogic in midfield, far less a striker to match the sharpness of Nisbet. Dykes ran and harried but his two free-kick attempts from just outside the Hibs box were disappointing. He will surely have better games.

Confidence is the key word for Hibs. It was evident in their play. Nisbet's enthusiasm for the task was matched by that of fellow striker Doidge and, with Daryl Horgan and Boyle's endless attacking intent, Hibs ought once more to be a team that is a joy to watch going forward at pace.

What they said?

Livingston manager Gary Holt: "It's not good enough, it's as simple as that. People are not taking enough responsibility. You've got to do your shift and put the effort in. They didn't do that in the first half. Hibs took their foot off the gas in the second half. The players will have to go away and look at themselves."

'Not good enough' - Livingston manager Gary Holt's blunt assessment

Hibernian manager Jack Ross: "We'd have been happy with any sort of victory, given how impressive Livingston's home record has been. To win the game in the manner we did and by the margin of victory is very satisfying and should generate increased confidence.

"We looked at two key parts. We knew we'd need to defend a lot of balls in the box from open play and set pieces and we'd have to be brave and aggressive, and we did that brilliantly as a team.

"Secondly, in possession we believed we could work the ball into wide areas and deliver balls into the box, which is why we played the personnel we did today - again the players did that terrifically well and we saw that from the opening two goals. The players were brilliant today."

Satisfaction for manager Jack Ross as confident Hibs shine

What's next?

Hibernian can move three points clear at the top of the Premiership on Tuesday evening when they travel to Tannadice, ahead of the five-match Wednesday night card. Livingston, too, are on the road in midweek and will be very keen to avoid a trio of league defeats when they play Motherwell.

Line-ups

Livingston

  • 1McCrorie
  • 5FitzwaterSubstituted forKouider-Aissaat 81'minutes
  • 27Guthrie
  • 3Brown
  • 2DevlinSubstituted forForrestat 45'minutes
  • 6BartleyBooked at 57mins
  • 10SibbaldSubstituted forPoplatnikat 45'minutes
  • 25Ambrose
  • 8Pittman
  • 17RobinsonSubstituted forTiffoneyat 73'minutes
  • 9Dykes

Substitutes

  • 11Forrest
  • 15Poplatnik
  • 16Crawford
  • 19Kouider-Aissa
  • 20Souda
  • 21McMillan
  • 22Tiffoney
  • 29Taylor-Sinclair
  • 32Stryjek

Hibernian

  • 1Marciano
  • 6McGinn
  • 5PorteousBooked at 60mins
  • 4Hanlon
  • 25Doig
  • 10Boyle
  • 13Gogic
  • 11Newell
  • 7HorganSubstituted forHallbergat 77'minutes
  • 9Doidge
  • 15NisbetSubstituted forGullanat 90'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Gray
  • 12Murray
  • 16Stevenson
  • 19Gullan
  • 20Hallberg
  • 21Dabrowski
  • 23Allan
  • 24McGregor
  • 27Stirling
Referee:
Euan Anderson

Match Stats

Home TeamLivingstonAway TeamHibernian
Possession
Home53%
Away47%
Shots
Home12
Away18
Shots on Target
Home3
Away8
Corners
Home5
Away4
Fouls
Home17
Away11

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Livingston 1, Hibernian 4.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Livingston 1, Hibernian 4.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Livingston. Conceded by Paul Hanlon.

  4. Substitution

    Substitution, Hibernian. James Gullan replaces Kevin Nisbet.

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Marvin Bartley (Livingston) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high following a corner.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Livingston. Conceded by Paul Hanlon.

  7. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Jon Guthrie (Livingston) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Alan Forrest.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Livingston. Conceded by Joe Newell.

  9. Post update

    Goal! Livingston 1, Hibernian 4. Kevin Nisbet (Hibernian) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

  10. Post update

    Penalty conceded by Marvin Bartley (Livingston) after a foul in the penalty area.

  11. Post update

    Penalty Hibernian. Melker Hallberg draws a foul in the penalty area.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Efe Ambrose (Livingston).

  13. Post update

    Christian Doidge (Hibernian) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  14. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ciaron Brown (Livingston) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Alan Forrest with a cross following a corner.

  15. Post update

    Corner, Livingston. Conceded by Paul McGinn.

  16. Post update

    Attempt saved. Martin Boyle (Hibernian) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Paul McGinn.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Alan Forrest (Livingston).

  18. Post update

    Joe Newell (Hibernian) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Livingston. Salim Kouider-Aissa replaces Jack Fitzwater.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Lyndon Dykes (Livingston).

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