The Lions picked up their first Premiership victory of the season on Sunday, bouncing back from defeat on the opening day with a perfect away performance at Tannadice.
Cristian Montaño netted the only goal of the game on 49 minutes, opening his account for the club with his first Livi goal.
Manager David Martindale made just one change from the spirited defeat to Rangers eight days earlier, with Phill Cancar dropping to the bench to be replaced by Cristian Montaño. It would be an alteration that paid dividends for the Lions.
Spirits were high at Tannadice, with Dundee United off the back of a memorable victory against AZ Alkmaar on home soil. They made three changes, but appeared to be suffering a bit of a European hangover with a slow and sloppy start.
Livi looked to take advantage of a leggy United, and created a few chances early on in the match. Sean Kelly saw a strike fly wide of the post from the edge of the box, before Ayo Obileye’s audacious bicycle kick flew over the bar.
United had a half chance of their own despite the visitors controlling the game. The ball broke for Steven Fletcher at the edge of the box, but the experienced striker saw his effort sail well off target.
Despite Livi’s dominance, and picking up some threatening positions in the final third, they didn’t really cause United too many problems by way of clear cut chances in the first half, even with the hosts presenting them with several invitations via individual errors.
It mattered not though as four minutes after the restart, Livingston took a deserved lead. Joel Nouble, who was causing the United backline all sorts of trouble, wriggled free of two defenders and got a shot off which was saved by Mark Birighitti. Livi quickly regained possession from the rebound through Nicky Devlin who found Cristian Montaño outside the area. The Colombian tried his luck from distance, and sweetly struck the ball into the bottom corner to make it 1-0, much to the delight of the travelling fans.
With the Lions in front, it gave United a wake up call as they started to get forward a bit more. Shamal George had to be at his best to deny Tony Watt, with the stopper meeting the striker’s effort with strong wrists.
The hosts forced George into a save again moments later, but this time it was a more comfortable stop for the new signing. Ross Graham met a Dylan Levitt corner and headed into the path of Fletcher, but the striker’s flick was held by Livi’s number one.
Tony Watt had another great opportunity shortly after, with the ball falling for him nicely at the edge of the box. The forward just couldn’t wrap his foot around the ball as he sent his effort narrowly wide of the post.
Livingston were still relatively comfortable at this stage, despite Matthew Cudjoe’s attacking impetus getting home fans off their seats. The young Ghanaian winger was cutting in from the right wing onto his left foot and causing some problems, but he flashed a couple of powerful strikes from distance over the bar.
The visitors had a big chance of their own with around fifteen to play. Again, some fantastic hold-up play from Nouble caused United’s centre halves huge issues, and the forward played a perfectly weighted pass into the path of Scott Pittman. Baring down on goal at the end where he scored one of the club’s most memorable goals, the midfielder had just Birighitti to beat, however the Australian came out on top as he spread himself well to prevent Pittman poking the ball beyond him to kill the game.
That would be the last real chance of the match as Livingston saw out a fantastic, and deserved, victory at Tannadice, stretching their run to 4 games unbeaten against the Terrors.
A clean sheet and three points made it a real ‘Beautiful Sunday’ in the city of Discovery for the Lions, as they bounced back in style with a vintage display to get up and running for the season!
Match Report: Calum Brown
Dundee Utd: Birighitti, Smith, McMann ▊, Graham, Fletcher (Clark 82), Edwards©️, Sibbald (Niskanen 52), Middleton (Cudjoe 52), McGrath, Levitt, Watt ▊
Subs not used: Eriksson, Chalmers, Meekison, Freeman, Fotheringham, MacLeod
Livingston: George ▊, Devlin©️ ▊, Fitzwater, Obileye, Montaño (Longridge 85), Holt, Omeonga, Kelly (Bitsindou 90 ▊), Shinnie (Brandon 77), Pittman, Nouble
Subs not used: Konovalov, Cancar, Bahamboula, Mullin, Gonçalves, Anderson
Goals: Montaño (49)
Referee: Steven McLean