Livingston 1-0 Hearts

09 March 2022

Cristian Montano's first-half strike was enough to separate the sides at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

Robbie Neilson handed a starting debut to Deadline Day signing Stephen Humphrys with Toby Sibbick, Jorge Grant, Stephen Kingsley and Gary Mackay-Steven also coming in to the XI. 

The Jambos made a bright start in West Lothian. A wonderful diagonal ball from Neilson released Mackay-Steven down the left in the second minute; his ball found Humphrys at the back post but at full stretch he couldn't steer it on target. 

They went close again on the 10 minute mark. A well worked move saw Kingsley float a cross in from the left; the ball was moved wide to McKay who played Grant in first time but he could only volley wide from close range. 

Livingston gradually grew into the game. Stephane Omeonga picked up the first booking of the game on 22 minutes after hauling down Grant just inside the hosts' half. 

Just before the half hour mark, however, Livingston took the lead as Cristian Montano beat the offside trap to fire home from close range. 

Thoe hosts had the wind in their sails at this point and Montano was on the front foot again soon after, this time firing into the side netting from the left side of the box. It was end to end by then as ex-Jambo Isma Goncalves somehow fired wide with only the keeper to beat.

Kingsley then curled a free-kick inches over the bar after Mackay-Steven had been brought down 22 yards out.

Goncalves was denied again at the near post as the hosts continued to cause problems in the final minutes before the interval.

Half-time: Livingston 1-0 Hearts 

The second half was ten minutes old when Robbie made a triple change as Lawrence Shankland, Peter Haring and Alan Forrest replaced Devlin, Grant and Shankland. The hosts reponded with a double change soon after as the Jambos pressed forward for a leveller.

Josh Ginnelly was then introduced in place of Humphrys on 65 minutes as the Jambos searched for a way through the Livi backline.

Instead it was the home side who looked more dangerous in the final third with Nouble proving a handful down the left hand side time and time again. On 72 minutes, Gordon pulled off a superb save to deny Guthrie's flick on just yards out.

David Martindale's men continued to cause problems on the break as Hearts struggled to make inroads in the final third. Euan Henderson replaced Halliday as the fifth and final sub as the game entered the final 10 minutes.

Hearts pushed forward with Forrest cutting in from the right hand side in the 88th minute but his finish lacked power and deflected into the keeper's arms. Ginnelly then played Henderson in soon after but he was crowded out just as he looked to pull the trigger inside the box.

Kingsley sent a header over the bar as the 5 minutes added on board went up but the hosts held on to claim all three points.

Livingston: George, Devlin, Kelly, Obileye, Montano, Omeonga, Holt, Penrice (Bahamboula '56), Pittman, Goncalves (Guthrie '56), Nouble. Subs: Hamilton, Longridge, Brandon, Bitsindou, Cancar, S.Kelly, Shinnie.

Hearts: Gordon, Sibbick (Haring '55), Neilson, Kingsley, Cochrane, Devlin (Forrest '55), Halliday (Henderson '82), McKay, Grant (Shankland 55'), Mackay-Steven, Humphrys (Ginnelly 65'). Subs: Stewart, M.Smith, C.Smith.