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Christian Doidge ends goal drought to earn a point for Hibs

St Johnstone v Hibernian – Betfred Cup – Semi Final – Hampden Park
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Christian Doidge ended his 15-game goal drought as Hibernian came from behind to claim a 1-1 draw at Livingston.

The striker, whose last effort came on December 15, cancelled out Craig Sibbald’s goal before the break.

The visitors dominated the second period but could not find a way past a solid Lions rearguard.

The point extended Hibs’ lead over Aberdeen in third place to seven points, while Livingston, in fifth, are now five adrift of the Dons.

Some 15 minutes had elapsed before the first effort on goal was registered.

Livingston winger Alan Forrest wriggled free to set up Sibbald just outside the area but the midfielder hit a low drive straight at Ofir Marciano.

That chance triggered more openings in the Hibs box after visiting winger Martin Boyle dragged a shot well wide from distance.

Jay Emmanuel-Thomas showed neat footwork to set up Sibbald, with the playmaker’s rising left-footed drive from 15 yards pushed behind by Marciano.

Moments later Forrest crossed for Emmanuel-Thomas but the striker headed wide from six yards.

The game was now end-to-end. Hibs were next to threaten through Kevin Nisbet – on a high from his Scotland call-up – but the striker volleyed wide from Doidge’s knock down

The Lions stormed ahead in the 28th minute through Sibbald with a helping hand from Hibs defender Ryan Porteous.

The centre-half made a mess of his attempt to head Jon Guthrie’s pass back to his goalkeeper but Sibbald nipped in to direct an effort past Marciano from close range.

The visitors had a chance to level moments later but Joe Newell’s low drive from 15 yards from a Jackson Irvine pass was comfortably saved by Robby McCrorie.

But Hibs did equalise four minutes before the break. Lions right-back Nicky Devlin was dispossessed as he tried to shield the ball out for a goal kick.

The ball fell for Doidge and he fired past McCrorie from 12 yards.

Some desperate defending by Livingston in the 56th minute kept Hibs at bay. Martin Boyle’s low cross was directed goalwards by Doidge but kept out on the line by Devlin amid a scramble.

Livingston were not the same force as they were in the first half although Guthrie did head straight at Marciano from Sibbald’s in-swinging free kick.

Hibs were piling on the pressure and had Livingston camped in their own half.

Newell had a chance to get a shot away from 18 yards but took a touch and his eventual effort was blocked.

Nisbet then fired wide from a Doidge pass from a tight angle with what proved to be the last major chance of the game.