The Lions made the short trip to Ainslie Park tonight to take on League Two side Edinburgh City in Betfred Cup action.
Livi gaffer Gary Holt made four changes from Friday night’s 2-1 victory at Tannadice. Scotland call-up Robby McCrorie was forced to miss this one, so in came Max Stryjek for us first start since his clean sheet against Rangers in August.
Josh Mullin made his second Livi debut, while Jack Fitzwater and Jack McMillan also came into the side, with Marvin Bartley, Efe Ambrose and Nicky Devlin taking to the bench.
It didn’t take the Lions long to get a foothold in the game. Julien Serrano’s cross found Scott Tiffoney early on, but the striker was relieved to see the offside flag as he headed wide from close range.
Livingston took the lead just four minutes later though, through Scott Robinson. After some good work by Tiffoney and Pittman, the latter slipped in Jason Holt who had an effort saved by Calum Antell. The save rebounded off a City defender and into the path fell kindly for Robinson who headed home from close range for his first goal of the season.
On 12 minutes, the hosts nearly responded immediately. Some good play down the right-hand side resulted in a cross ball finding Danny Handling at the back post, but the former Hibs man’s header was saved well by Stryjek.
After controlling possession and looking threatening in every attack, Livi made their dominance count as they doubled their advantage on 22 minutes. Following an Edinburgh City free kick, the ball was cleared quickly up to Tiffoney who did well to slip in Josh Mullin. The winger had beaten the offside trap and found himself one on one with Antell, who he calmly rounded, slotting into the empty net for his first goal for the Lions since that memorable equaliser at Tannadice in the Play-Offs.
Five minutes before the break, Livi had a third and it was that man Josh Mullin with his second of the evening. Fitzwater played a lovely ball down the left for Serrano, who drove an inviting low cross to the back post where Mullin was there to tap home.
Half Time: Edinburgh City 0-3 Livingston
Livi made a half time change, which saw Scott Tiffoney be replaced by Matej Poplatnik, fresh from his match-winning assist against Dundee United on Friday.
The hosts came out fired up in the second half, and had the majority of the ball for the first five minutes. But, it was Livi who had the first chance after the break. Pittman laid off Serrano who had moved inside from the left, but his speculative effort on his weaker right foot went high and wide.
Both sides continued to try their luck from the edge of the area. First, City’s on-loan Hibs midfielder Josh Campbell saw an effort held by Stryjek. Then, Josh Mullin was allowed time and space to drive at the heart of the hosts’ defence, but his powerful strike from outside the box was always rising over.
On 57 minutes, Edinburgh City so very nearly had one back but for Max Stryjek. The ball broke to Oussy See after a mistimed clearance from Guthrie, allowing him one on one inside the box, but Stryjek got down quickly to make a brilliant save to deny the striker.
Just seven minutes later, the Lions had goal number four through substitute Matej Poplatnik. Serrano cut inside brilliantly on the left finding Pittman just inside the box, the ball deflected to the Slovenian striker who struck first-time to net his first Livi goal.
On 69 minutes, the hosts grabbed one back via a penalty. Willie Collum blew for a foul on Liam Henderson, and up stepped Danny Handling to send Stryjek the wrong way from 12 yards.
The Lions responded eight minutes later and added a fifith. Josh Mullin delivered a delightful ball from a corner to the head of Lars Lokotsch, and the German striker headed into the far corner to open his account for the Lions.
In the end, it was a comfortable 5-1 win for Gary Holt’s side who claim the three points to get them off to winning ways in Group H of the Betfred Cup.
Edinburgh City: Antell, Thomson, Balatoni, L.Henderson, Crane, Brown, Black (⇔ Jardine 76), Handling (⇔ Hamilton 86), Campbell, Harris (⇔ Butterworth ▊ 20), See (⇔ B.Henderson 76)
Subs not used: Quate, Jarron, Newman
Goals: Handling (70 pen)
Livingston: Stryjek, McMillan (⇔ Devlin 71), Fitzwater (⇔ Ambrose 80), Guthrie, Serrano (⇔ Taylor-Sinclair 66), Robinson, Holt, Pittman, Forrest (⇔ Lokotsch 71), Mullin, Tiffoney (⇔ Poplatnik ▊ 45)
Subs not used: Maley, Bartley, Sibbald
Goals: Robinson (7), Mullin (22 & 40), Poplatnik (65), Lokotsch (77)
Referee: Willie Collum
Match Report: Calum Brown