Match Report: Hearts 1-1 Livingston

11 December 2022

The Jambos were left reeling after a Stephen Kelly goal and Rowles red card, but showed real strength of character to bag a big point against the Lions ahead of the World Cup break.
With just one final match to get through before the World Cup break, Robbie Neilson had Hearts line up in a 4-1-4-1 formation on a crisp November afternoon in Gorgie. Kye Rowles and Toby Sibbick kept their places in the centre of defence, whilst Orestis Kiomourtzoglou and Barrie McKay made a return to the midfield after coming off the bench at Ibrox on Wednesday night.
Hearts carved out a magnificent chance on the ten-minute mark. A quick move sparked by Barrie McKay saw Cochrane slipped into the area. He rolled the ball across the face of goal for an incoming Lawrence Shankland – but our number nine’s resulting effort was high and wide over Livi’s crossbar.
Whilst Hearts enjoyed spells with the ball, Livi beat back the Maroons’ attempts commendably. The defensive pairing of Fitzwater and Obileye combined well to see of many of Hearts’ attacks. Lawrence Shankland had a few further stabs at Konovalov in goal, but to little effect.
That defensive solidity saw Hearts restricted severely, with chances at a premium in Gorgie. Shankland was denied a further two times, with a fantastic ball into the area from Cochrane drilled away by a yellow shirt. All to play for in the second 45.
With 54 minutes played, Livingston took the lead at Tynecastle. Stephen Kelly did well to control the box under pressure in the Hears box, before sending a low, raking drive past Craig Gordon to open the scoring.
With twenty minutes to go, Hearts knew and response was needed. Kye Rowles watched on with his hands on his head as his flicked header crashed off the Livi woodwork following another ball into the area from Alex Cochrane.
There was controversy as Kye Rowles was sent off in the 75th minute for a shirt pull inside the area after a VAR check. Sean Kelly stepped up to convert but Craig Gordon produced a fantastic save to keep Livingston at bay.
Forrest was then slid through, before crossing to a waiting Ginnelly at the back post, but the wide man missed his chance and sent his effort well wide. Things got more challenging for Hearts after VAR wanted to see a possible red card claim against Alex Cochrane – who tackled Livi skipper Nicky Devlin. No red card for now.
With seven minutes of injury time to come, Hearts pushed for an equaliser. Shankland went close with a close-range effort but ended up being crowded out by a sea of Livi shirts.
When it seemed all hope was lost, Josh Ginnelly strode into the Livi box and sent a sweet effort past the goalkeeper to clinch a dramatic point for the Jambos!
Hearts: Gordon, M. Smith, Rowles, Sibbick, Cochrane, Devlin (Forrest 61’), Kiomourtzoglou (C. Smith 66’) (Halkett 76’), Snodgrass, Ginnelly, Shankland
Subs: Stewart, Clark, Halkett, Atkinson, Forrest, Neilson, Henderson, McLuckie, C. Smith, Pollock
Livingston: Konovalov, Devlin, Obileye, Fitzwater, Montano, Kelly (Pittman 68’), Holt, Nouble, Shinnie (Bahamboula 81’), Kelly, Omeonga
Subs: Hamilton, Longridge, Bahamboula, Pittman, Anderson, Isma, Boyes, Penrice
Attendance: 18,448