Draw puts Livi in top six for Xmas

Hardie scores opener and Kelly saves penalty

West Lothian Courier - - Review of the Year - Cal­lum Car­son

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

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