Livingston 1-0 Saints

Wednesday 22nd January

A second half goal from Livingston’s Scott Pittman saw Saints slip to 1-0 defeat at the Tony Macaroni Arena this evening.

Saints started well and they had an appeal for a penalty after 15 minutes dismissed by Euan Anderson.

Both sides created chances as the first half progressed with Michael O’Halloran seeing an effort saved by on-loan Livi keeper Robby McCrorie. Whilst up the other end the hosts created a couple of chances late on in the half but Zander Clark was alert to the danger.

The only goal of the game came on 56 minutes when Livingston midfielder Scott Pittman converted a low cross at the back post.

Tonight’s result leaves Saints sitting in ninth position in the Scottish Premiership with 20 points. Next up for Saints is a home game against Kilmarnock on Saturday, kick off 3pm.

MATCH REPORT

Saints were on the road this evening for their first Premiership game of 2020 as they made the trip to West Lothian to take on Livingston at the Tony Macaroni Arena. For his 300th game in charge Tommy Wright made three changes to the side that defeated Greenock Morton 3-0 in the Scottish Cup on Saturday. Out went David Wotherspoon and Chris Kane whist Murray Davidson was suspended and they were replaced by Jason Holt, Michael O’Halloran and Liam Craig. Livingston also progressed into the fifth round of the Scottish Cup at the weekend as they defeated Raith Rovers 3-1 and manager Gary Holt made four changes to his starting eleven for this evenings game. New on-loan signing Robby McCrorie took his place in goals whilst Jack McMillan, Keaghan Jacobs and Scott Robinson were also brought into the team. They replaced Ryan Schofield, Ricki Lamie, Craig Sibbald and Aymen Souda.

Jason Holt got the game underway and it was Saints who would have the first chance of the match after 4 minutes. A Liam Craig corner was only partially cleared by the home defence and the ball broke to Liam Gordon whose effort fizzed past Robby McCrorie’s right-hand post.

On 15 minutes Saints were appealing for a penalty after Michael O’Halloran went down in the box after clashing with Ciaron Brown and Robby McCrorie but referee Euan Anderson waved play on. Then 6 minutes later Liam Craig saw his effort from outside the box go wide of the target.

Livi were awarded a free kick in an inviting position just after the half an hour mark following a foul on Marvin Bartley by Craig. Steve Lawson stepped up to take it and his curling right foot effort came crashing off the post before spinning wide.

Play very quickly switched to the other end as Stevie May played in O’Halloran whose unleashed an effort at goal but McCrorie saved well with his feet. The loose ball then broke to Jason Holt but the effort from the midfielder was well held by McCrorie.

The game had now come alive and was end to end as the hosts created the next chance on 34 minutes as Steven Lawless picked out Scott Robinson but Zander Clark was out quick to deal with the danger. The Saints number one took a knock in the process but was able to carry on after treatment.

Then as the match entered 3 minutes of additional time at the end of the first half Jon Guthrie came close to giving Livingston the lead as he made a connection with Brown’s deep cross into the box however, his header went wide of Clark’s left-hand post.

5 minutes into the second half Clark made a super save to deny Scott Pittman as he pushed the ball onto the crossbar and behind for a corner. From the corner, Saints hit Livingston on the counter as Drey Wright broke a pace down the left. The midfielder then picked out O’Halloran with his cross but McCrorie made a good block to deny the attacker.

The hosts took the lead on 56 minutes as Lyndon Dykes sent a low ball across the box picking out Pittman at the back post who knocked it into the net. Then a couple of minutes later Pittman almost got his and Livi’s second but Clark made a great save to deny the midfielder.

On 71 minutes Saints made a triple change as Chris Kane, Callum Hendry and Scott Tanser came on for Anthony Ralston, Liam Craig and Stevie May.

Then 2 minutes later Saints created a great chance to get back into the match as Tanser’s cross caught out McCrorie and the ball broke to O’Halloran but Brown made fantastic block on the line to deny the Saints man.

The hosts were also creating chances and on 75 minutes Dykes saw his effort blocked by Clark.

Saints continued to push for an equaliser in the closing stages but they just couldn’t find a way past a well organised home defence.

Livingston: McCrorie, McMillan (Crawford 83), Lawson (Lamie 72), Brown, Guthrie, Bartley, Pittman, Jacobs, Lawless (Erskine 81), Robinson, Dykes

Unused Substitutes: Stewart (GK), Souda, Tiffoney, Sibbald

Booked: McMillan, Bartley

Scorer: Pittman (56)

Saints: Clark, Ralston (Kane 71), Booth, Gordon, Kerr, Craig (Hendry 71), Holt, McCann, Wright, O’Halloran, May (Tanser 71)

Unused Substitutes: Parish (GK), Vihmann, Wotherspoon, Kennedy

Booked: Kane

Referee: Euan Anderson

Attendance: 1,140 (267 Saints fans)

Match Report by Daryl Scott

Picture: Michael O’Halloran’s effort is saved by Robby McCrorie