A LATE change to the starting line-up following an injury in the warm-up, a penalty saved, another spot-kick appeal turned down and a lead squandered. It was one of those afternoons for Hibernian.

Lewis Stevenson went from playing keepie-uppies before kick-off and the expectation of an afternoon warming the bench to being drafted in as a late, late replacement for Joe Newell, whose ankle problem flared up just minutes before kick-off. If that was a shock to the system for Stevenson, the way the subsequent 90 minutes panned out should not have come as a surprise to anyone at Easter Road.

First of all, there was new recruit Efe Ambrose strolling around nonchalantly, one minute meandering his way out of defence before popping up on the right wing, the next getting his new Livingston team-mates into trouble with a misplaced pass, Then, there was the Lions' indomitable spirit and fearsome attitude, coupled with an ability to play when the chance presented it.


A case in point was the sumptuous cross delivered so temptingly by Steven Lawless for Aaron Taylor-Sinclair to cancel out Christian Doidge’s opener for Hibs. The in-swinging diagonal deserved to finish with a goal and, disappointing though it was for the Easter Road outfit, Stevenson confessed he could not complain too much about the final result that ensured Livi stay a point ahead in fifth.

“It was always going to be a stuffy game with few chances for either team,” he commented. “They are a decent side and they are where they are in the league on merit, so maybe at the end of the year that might be a good point for us.

“I’m not going to be too hard on us, conditions weren't great, It was blustery and there was not a lot of football played by both teams but we move on to next week We didn’t play well but maybe a point’s not the worst result.”

As for that late call-up? “It was about five minutes before we were due to go back in,” he explained. “It was a bit of a shock to the system, but about 10 minutes into the game you kind of forget about it and you are ready to go.


“You’re supposed to be ready to be called upon at all times but you never think that's going to happen. I think I was doing keepie-uppies and I should be experienced enough to expect the unexpected - but I wasn’t!”

The stalemate, which might have been different had Robby McCrorie not pulled off a wonderful save from Scott Allan’s penalty midway through the first-half, means Hibs go into Friday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final against Inverness Caley Thistle with only one defeat in 10 games since the winter break.

“We’ll need to play better than we did [on Saturday],” admitted Stevenson.“We know it will be a tough game. We won’t be wanting to go back up there [for a replay] but as long as we get through the tie that’s the main thing. On their day, Inverness have got some good players who can hurt you, like James Keatings. They are a big team, we’ll need be at our best.”


It was an eventful afternoon for Taylor-Sinclair. The Livi goal-scorer gave away the Hibs penalty when Martin Boyle’s cross hit his outstretched arm and the wing-back could have scored with a header just moments before his equaliser. His goal just highlighted the West Lothian side’s refusal to be subdued.

“I was disappointed the ref gave the penalty,” he admitted, “but he said my arm was in an unnatural position. Boyle was only about five yards away from me. I can’t chop off my arm, that’s the only way it’s going to get past. I’ll need to watch back, but I felt hard done by at the time.

“I came in [to the club in] November, but the past two seasons it’s been about hard, hard work. There’s a real togetherness. Everyone is pulling in the same direction and giving everything on the pitch.”