Draw puts Livi in top six for Xmas
Hardie scores opener and Kelly saves penalty
Livingston battled to a credible point away at Hibernian to ensure they go into Christmas sitting in the top six.
Ryan Hardie latched onto Declan Gallagher’s stunning ball over the top of the defence to dink the Lions into the lead in the early stages of the second half - but were pegged back as Ryan Porteous headed home the leveller in the closing stages after Liam Kelly had earlier saved a Florian Kamberi penalty.
Livi boss Gary Holt made one change to the starting line-up that had defeated Hearts 5-0 the previous week with Scott Robinson replacing Nicky Cadden, although that lasted barely 20 minutes as the former Hearts midfielder was taken off with a hamstring injury.
A slow start to the contest meant that it took 19 minutes for the first real chance on goal as Kelly brilliantly tipped a Martin Boyle angled effort wide of the post, before Oli Shaw tested the stopper three minutes later as the hosts grew into the game.
The Lions went close on 25 minutes when Cadden whipped in a free-kick that was glanced narrowly wide by the head of Hardie. They passed up a great chance to open the scoring just before the break as Cadden was allowed room to run down the wing. His delivery into the box was flicked towards goal by Pittman but eventually scrambled clear by the home defence before the winger stung the hands of Adam Bogdan a minute later. The visitors took the lead 11 minutes into the second half when Gallagher’s inch-perfect ball over the top was pounced on by Hardie, who nipped in between the defence and keeper before delightfully flicking the ball over Bogdan and into the net for his fourth goal of the season. They would breathe a massive sigh of relief with 20 minutes remaining as Kelly saved Kamberi’s penalty after Boyle had been scythed down by a mistimed Alan Lithgow challenge. The keeper guessed correctly and got down to his right, but in truth it was a poor attempt from the Hibs substitute. Kelly would come out on top again in that duel two minutes later when the Swiss striker got on the end of a free-kick but an instinctive stop from close range kept Livi in front.
He was unable to stop Porteous heading home the leveller on 80 minutes, though, as the young centreback got on the end of a fizzing cross from Daryl Horgan to bring his side back on level terms.
Both sides would squander chances to win the game as Boyle’s darting run resulted in him firing an effort inches wide of the far post while Steve Lawson’s instinctive attempt from 12 yards went over the bar after neat play from Livi created the opportunity but they would have to settle for the draw.
Equaliser Ryan Porteous wheels away after scoring for Hibs
Stop Liam Kelly saves a penalty from Florian Kamberi
Opener Ryan Hardie celebrates his goal