THE clutch of Hibernian fans who gathered in the car park or in the field outside of the Tony Macaroni Stadium – perhaps unwisely in the current climate – would have enjoyed their visit.

Unable to see much or any of the action, they instead reacted to either radio commentary or by gauging the roars and cheers from the players on the other side of the stadium wall.

Three times in the first half alone they belatedly burst into song as Jack Ross’ side raced into what would prove to be an unassailable lead against a Livingston defence usually praised for being watertight at home.

The second half brought one more big cheer as Kevin Nisbet rolled in a late penalty to complete his hat-trick.

Despite having only recently arrived from Dunfermline Athletic, the striker had the confidence to grab the ball once Marvin Bartley had fouled Joe Newell two minutes from time to slot in the dead ball.

“Nobody else was getting the ball to take the penalty,” revealed the striker. “When you’re on a hat-trick, you need to take the penalty. And I thought I stepped up confidently to get the hat-trick. I actually ran out afterwards to see where the ball was and got most of the boys to sign it for me.”

If it had seemed counter-productive initially to switch Martin Boyle from a central to a wide role following his two-goal haul against Kilmarnock last weekend, then the move paid off for Hibs.

In came Christian Doidge to partner Nisbet in attack, and with Boyle offering a pacey threat down the right wing and Daryl Horgan doing the same on the left, it provided the visitors with a menacing four-pronged attack that proved far too potent for Livingston to deal with.

“We wanted to get the ball wide and into the box and to do that you really need two strikers on the park,” said Ross. “On another day it might not have worked but today it worked a treat for us. I’ve been really pleased with how Kevin has settled in. He’s made a big impression with everybody from the first time he trained with us. So to score and then go on to get a hat-trick is brilliant for him.”

Nisbet claimed his first two goals for his new side before half time. The first after 15 minutes couldn’t have been simpler. Horgan threaded an inviting centre across the six-yard box and Nisbet was left all alone to tap in from a couple of yards.

His second stemmed from the same area of the pitch and from the same supplier. Horgan this time floated in his cross where Nisbet was able to head towards goal. Robby McCrorie threw up a fist but couldn’t keep it out.

The striker, in fact, could have had a third before half time, squeezing a shot across goal after Livingston had failed to clear a corner where Doidge redirected it across the line.

Nisbet did finally get his third – and Hibs’ fourth – late on to seal a good afternoon’s work all around for Hibs.

“The balance in the team is good and Alex Gogic has helped us massively with that,” added Ross. “He does the ugly side of the game really well. I’m frustrated for the defence that they don’t have that tangible reward of a clean sheet as I thought they deserved it today.”

That was something that never looked likely for Livingston. They had appeared toothless in their loss to St Mirren but, back at home, had been expected to provide more of a threat. It didn’t materialise.

Not only did they fail to create anything of any great note to trouble Hibs from open play but their defensive unit – so often praised at home for their faultless solidity – crumbled beyond recognition. Their only consolation was a Lyndon Dykes penalty after an hour but it never threatened to spark a comeback.

“I take my share of the responsibility. It was my team, my system, and did it work? I’m not sure,” said manager Gary Holt. “So, I will take that on the chin. But the players had to do their job and I don’t think too many did that today.”