By Ben Johnston
Livingston started extremely well and were ahead in the match through Craig Sibbald. But Christian Doidge returned to the scoresheet for the first time since December to secure a point for Hibs before half-time.
It’s a positive point for both that puts pressure on Aberdeen in fourth spot. Jack Ross’ side are now seven points ahead of the Dons in third while Livi in fifth place are five points behind Aberdeen in the race for European football heading into the split. Here are three things we learned.
Livingston’s adaptability was key throughout the match. Hibs’ slow start allowed Livingston a lot of the ball and they showed just how impressive they can be at knocking it about, creating lots of chances, something they haven’t had a lot of credit for. All that was missing was that killer instinct to really finish Hibs early on.
As the game progressed and Doidge got the equaliser, Livingston understood they were under intense pressure and that allowed them to drop in and be extremely solid in defence, throwing themselves at the ball to protect the goal. Multiple blocks and a goal line clearance let them soak up the pressure throughout the second half and gain a point on Aberdeen in fourth place.
Having not scored a league goal since the 12th of December against Hamilton, it was important for Doidge to grab a goal to get himself firing for the end of the season. His equaliser in the 41st minute was enough to get the point for Hibs, but manager Ross wasn’t too worried.
He said: “I’m delighted for him. I was chatting to him in the build-up to the game about different things and his run of not scoring didn’t bother me because I think his play has been really good and he helps the team out so much.”
European outlook going into the split
Both sides are now poised for European contention. Hibs have it all in their own hands after going seven points clear in third, and while fifth spot could become a European place depending on the winner of the Scottish Cup, Livi will smell blood as Aberdeen in fourth go one win, and one goal, in 10 matches.
The split is going to prove important after this game. Livingston are now only five points behind Aberdeen and with a game to play against the Dons, it’s not a huge gap.
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