A brace from Elie Youan helped Hibernian come from behind to earn a 4-1 win against Livingston in an entertaining game at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
Joel Nouble’s superbly-taken opener had given the home side an early lead but Youan’s quickfire double turned the tide for Hibs, who were playing in their first match since the passing of owner Ron Gordon.
Livingston were reduced to 10 men early in the second period as Jack Fitzwater was dismissed for bringing down Matthew Hoppe before Chris Cadden’s pass deflected in off Stephane Omeonga to make the scoreline comfortable for the visitors.
The hosts ended the match with nine men as the unfortunate Omeonga then suffered an injury after Livingston had used all their subs and Hibs rounded off the win with literally the last kick off the game as Mykola Kukharevych tapped in.
There was a moment of reflection pre-match as both teams and supporters observed a minute’s silence in the memory of Gordon.
When the action got under way, it was the hosts who started the brighter and they took the lead in the ninth minute through Nouble.
Morgan Boyes sent an inch-perfect diagonal ball over the top to release the striker, who composed himself before firing in off the crossbar from a tight angle.
Hibs drew level in the 28th minute and – like Livingston’s goal – it came from a well-directed ball in behind as Will Fish drove forward and set up Youan.
The Frenchman showed composure to take a touch and stroke the ball past Shamal George to level the scores.
Nouble had the next chance in the 36th minute but his tame shot was easily gathered by David Marshall as he latched onto Steven Kelly’s precise through ball.
The home side were made to pay less than 60 seconds later as Youan grabbed his second of the game.
The forward was allowed far too much space in the box as he gathered Hoppe’s pass and scuffed a left-footed finish that trickled beyond George and went in off the far post to put Hibs 2-1 up at the break.
It should have been 3-1 moments into the second half as Hoppe ran through on goal but he could only shoot straight at George.
Nicky Devlin then fizzed a shot just wide from the edge of the box as Livi looked to draw level but their task was made harder moments later when they were reduced to 10 men.
Marijan Cabraja released Hoppe with another ball in behind and Fitzwater could only clip the striker as he bore down on goal.
Referee Chris Graham wasted no time in reaching for the red card and Hibernian made their man advantage pay in the 61st minute with a third goal on the counter attack.
The impressive Youan released Cadden and his low centre deflected in off the unfortunate Omeonga.
Livi’s afternoon would get worse in the closing stages as Omeonga’s injury forced them to finish the game with nine men.
Kukharevych added insult to injury in the final minute, tapping in after Kevin Nisbet’s shot was saved. The goal was initially ruled out for offside but was given after a VAR intervention.
With Livingston boss David Martindale sent off for his protestations in the aftermath, it concluded an afternoon to forget for the home side while Lee Johnson’s resurgent Hibs recorded their third straight win.
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country