The Scottish Premiership heads into its second matchday on Saturday as four fixtures take place across Scotland’s top flight. One of those four fixtures will see Livingston host Hibernian at Almondvale Stadium. The Lions had differing results to Hibernian in the first game of the campaign as they fell 1-0 to St. Mirren. The club were undone by a Richard Tait 30th minute goal.
Surprisingly, Livingston finished in fifth place last season and missed out on Europe by just six points. They ended the abbreviated campaign (abandoned in March rather than restarted) two places better off the Hibernian. Hibs finished the campaign in seventh place and two points behind Livingston.
Hibernian had a strong start to the new season with a win versus Kilmarnock on opening day, 2-1. Hibs were in control of most of the match versus Kilmarnock scoring twice within the opening 34 minutes as Martin Boyle bagged a brace. Killie’s Chris Burke pulled a goal back before halftime but Hibernian held firm in the second 45 minutes. The Cabbage now sit in second place heading into matchday 2.
Matchday 1 in the Scottish Premiership did not see many goals. Just 14 goals were scored across the six games. Five of those goals came in Celtic’s 5-1 mauling of Hamilton. Matchday 2 could see another lack of goals from teams outside of Glasgow. Can Livingston get a first point or will Hibs continue their excellent start?
Livingston and Hibernian met three times in 2019-20. The Lions went unbeaten against Hibernian winning at Almondvale Stadium and drawing twice at Easter Road. Gary Holt’s team may have overachieved in the Premiership while Jack Ross’s Hibs can be considered a side that underperformed.
When the teams played at Almondvale last term, Livingston claimed a fantastic 2-0 win. A Paul Hanlon own goal was followed by a John Guthrie 77th minute strike. Livingston returned to the Premiership in 2018 after a few seasons in the wilderness of Scottish football. Since returning, they have played Hibernian six times posting a 2W-3D-1L record. Their two wins came at Almondvale Stadium. Hibs could fall to another loss to Livingston this weekend thanks to their poor record away at Livingston.
Goals were a problem for Hibernian last term. They scored 41 times in 30 games while allowing 49 goals against. They conceded 1.6 goals per game in 2019-20. Livingston, on the other hand, had a +2-goal difference. They scored 41 times while allowing 39 strikes against. The Lions scored the Premiership’s fourth most goals in 2019-20. Although they were shut out by St. Mirren, they could get things going this weekend in the final third.
Hibernian should have a full-strength squad for the game versus Livingston. Manager Jack Ross brought in three players in the offseason with Kevin Nisbet, Drey Wright, and Alex Gogic coming into the club. Hibs did allow goalkeeper Adam Bogdan, Vykintas Slivka, and Steven Whittaker all left of free transfers.
Last season’s leading scorer Christian Doidge bagged 12 goals in 29 matches in the Scottish Premiership. He didn’t start on opening day, but Ross could get the former Bristol Rovers youth player on from the start.
Ross only joined the club in November of 2019 from Sunderland. He started this campaign well but may be judged on how he does versus the league’s top clubs. Hibs are a big club in Scotland but haven’t finished above fourth for the last three seasons.
According to the latest injury reports from Livingston, Alan Lithgow will miss the game due to a hip injury. Lithgow isn’t expected back until sometime in September. Livingston signed seven players in the offseason with six of those moves coming as free transfers.
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Doidge joined Hibernian in July 2019 and quickly established himself as a strong goal scorer at Easter Road. Doidge scored 12 goals in the league with a further six goals coming in other competitions. He didn’t start against Kilmarnock but could get the start versus Livingston away. The clubs played three times in 2019-20 with Doidge scoring one goal against Livingston. He played in all three of the games last term and should play at the weekend.
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Seven of the last eight games between Livingston and Hibernian in all competitions saw both teams score goals. Last season, the clubs played three times with two of those games ending with both teams scoring. The two games played at Easter Road ended with both teams finding the back of the net. Although Livingston did win at Almondvale last season versus Hibs, they may find it difficult to overcome the visitors with a victor this time around. They should get their first goal of the new season.
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The first weekend of Scottish Premiership football saw a very low number of goals. Games averaged 2.3 goals per game. However, five of the 14 goals scored on matchday 1 were by Celtic. If their game versus Hamilton is taken out of the equation, then only 1.3 goals per game were scored on weekend No. 1. Hibernian saw over 2.5 goals in their match while Livingston’s game versus St. Mirren finished with a mere one goal.
Saturday’s fixture should be low scoring with neither side getting the upper hand. Last season, the teams’ third match played at Easter Road finished in a 1-1 draw. Two of the last five games in the Premiership between Livingston and Hibernian finished in 1-1 scorelines.
Livingston should get something from this match. The Lions are undefeated in their last eight home matches in the league. They defeated Hibernian at Almondvale last season and will put on a solid fight against the visitors. Expect these sides to finish deadlocked in a low-scoring draw.
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The Almondvale Stadium will host the match between Livingston and Hibernian this weekend.
The Livingston vs Hibernian match will kick-off at 15:00 on Saturday 8th August.