Ryan Porteous was the unlikely Hibernian hero as the capital club rescued a 1-1 draw against dogged Livingston.
The towering defender, who was put under the microscope when Rangers boss Steven Gerrard criticised his hefty challenge on Lassana Coulibaly in midweek, hit the headlines for the right reasons as he cancelled out Ryan Hardie’s opener.
It extends the Hibees’ unbeaten run to five matches, but Neil Lennon’s below-par side undoubtedly got out of jail after Liam Kelly had saved an earlier penalty from Florian Kamberi.
The draw ensures Livingston stay ahead of Hibs in the Ladbrokes Premiership standings, sitting in sixth spot while the Easter Road outfit will spend Christmas in the bottom half.
Hibs, playing their third game in six days, showed six changes from the side that played out a battling 0-0 draw against the Gers on Wednesday, with Adam Bogdan, Mark Milligan, Darren McGregor, Martin Boyle, Lewis Allan and Sean Mackie all pitched into action.
Predictably, Livingston saw little cause to dramatically alter the team that obliterated Hearts 5-0 eight days previously. Scott Robinson did, however, replace Nicky Cadden.
The hosts were first to threaten as Australia international Boyle scampered onto a fine Emerson Hyndman throughball. However, his fizzing low shot was superbly tipped around the post by Kelly.
The Lions were dealt a blow when Robinson limped off after 21 minutes to be replaced by Cadden but, for all Gary Holt will hope the former Hearts man is not facing a lengthy absence, it proved something of a blessing in disguise.
It was Cadden’s low cross that found Scott Pitman inside the box, forcing a wonderful point-blank block from Bogdan, before the winger stung the palms of the Hungary goalkeeper from distance.
Dolly Menga also fizzed a shot over the bar following some industrious work from Hardie. As the half ended, Livi looked the more likely to break the deadlock.
Livingston’s threatening counter-attacks finally paid dividends 10 minutes into the second half as Hardie latched on to a lofted Declan Gallagher pass and showed sublime composure to slot his finish past Bogdan for his fourth goal in three appearances.
Hibs were presented with a golden opportunity to restore parity when the pace of Boyle proved too much for Alan Lithgow, with the winger beating the Livi defender to the ball and being tripped in the box.
However, from the resulting penalty Kelly further enhanced his reputation by plunging to his right to save Kamberi’s unconvincing penalty kick.
It was left to Porteous to rescue a point for the below-par Hibees, with the defender – visibly playing through the pain barrier after a knock in the first period – converted a fine cross from Daryl Horgan.