Alan Lithgow’s late header gave Livi a share of the spoils against ten-man Inverness Caledonian Thistle but the Lions were left to rue a last-gasp miss that denied them all three points.
Aaron Doran’s early strike looked set to give Caley the points, despite Iain Vigurs’ first-half red card, until Lithgow met Raffaele De Vita’s free kick eight minutes from time to rescue a point for David Hopkin’s side.
The Livi boss made just one change to the starting line up from the 4-1 Boxing Day win at Dumbarton as Josh Mullin came in for Keaghan Jacobs, but the Lions could only name five substitutes as the injuries mount up.
Livi forced the first chance of the match inside two minutes when Caley defender, and former Lion, Coll Donaldson tried to shepherd the ball out of play but was robbed by Dylan Mackin. He teed up Mullin for a shot but his effort was deflected through to Mark Ridgers. That was a bit of a let off for Donaldson and his side soon took full advantage as they took the lead on six minutes when Vigurs’ ball across the edge of the box was expertly curled home first time by Doran past Neil Alexander’s despairing dive.
Buoyed by the opening goal, Caley enjoyed a good spell of pressure and came close again on 14 minutes when Jackson Longridge miscued his clearance to Jake Mulraney and he curled his effort wide from the edge of the box. Up the other end there was an almighty scramble in the home penalty area on 20 minutes when Nicky Cadden’s free kick was fumbled by Ridgers and, after Mackin’s effort was blocked, Longridge’s cross found Lithgow at the far post but his volleyed effort was headed off the line before Caley cleared.
The home side came close to making it 2-0 on 28 minutes when Livi conceded possession cheaply in midfield and Doran was released down the left and he saw his mishit cross come back off the crossbar before the Lions defence cleared. There was then a bizarre moment when ref Greg Aitken ordered Cadden from the field, where he proceeded to stand on his own for around a minute before being waved back on to the field.
Caley picked up two yellow cards on 36 minutes, Liam Polworth carded for a foul on Pittman and Vigurs shown yellow for a previous infringement for which advantage had been played, before Mackin fired an effort over from the edge of the box after the free kick had been cleared. Declan Gallagher picked up a yellow card for a foul on Charlie Trafford before the home side found themselves down to ten men three minutes before the break as Vigurs caught Mackin with a high boot inside the Livi box and was shown a second yellow card.
The last chance of the half went Livi’s way as Shaun Byrne headed the ball down for Cadden but his shot was deflected through to Ridgers and Caley went in at the interval with a one-goal lead.
Half-time: Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1-0 Livingston
Caley made a change at the break as Ricky Calder replaced Mulraney before Caley came close to a second goal on 53 minutes when Donaldson got on the end of a corner from the right but saw his header kept out by a combination of Lithgow and Alexander on the line. Both sides made a change on 58 minutes as David Raven replaced Joe Chalmers for Caley and Dale Carrick replaced Cadden for the Lions.
It should have been 2-0 on 59 minutes when Caley broke quickly from a Livi corner and Doran was played through but his attempt to square for George Oakley was brilliantly diverted away by Longridge before Craig Halkett cleared. The Lions made a double change on 66 minutes as Mullin and Mackin were replaced by Scott Robinson and Nikolay Todorov before Longridge tried his luck from 25 yards but his effort fizzed around a foot over the bar.
Livi were spending more time in Caley’s half and came close again on 69 minutes when Longridge teed up De Vita but his 20 yard strike was deflected through to Ridgers, who saved comfortably. The home side made their final change on 70 minutes when Doran was replaced by Nathan Austin.
After a couple of Livi corners came to nothing, Austin came close to a debut goal when he cut inside and curled in an effort from 25 yards that Alexander did well to hold before the Lions drew level on 82 minutes when De Vita curled in a free kick from the right and Lithgow rose highest to glance a header into the far corner of the net.
Caley almost regained the lead immediately when Polworth wriggled into space and tried his luck from 25 yards but saw his effort bristle the side netting with Alexander well beaten.
Having trailed for much of the game, the Lions should have won it with the last kick of the game when, after Todorov’s header was saved by Ridgers, Robinson gathered possession and cut the ball back for Carrick but, leaning back, he fired high over the bar from six yards as the points were shared.
Full-time: Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1-1 Livingston
Inverness CT: Ridgers, Chalmers (Raven 58), Warren, Polworth, Cogan (Austin 70), Vigurs, Oakley, Mulraney (Calder 45), Mckay, Donaldson, Trafford
Subs not used: Esson, Baird, Bell, Cooper
Goals: Cogan (6)
Livingston: Alexander, Longridge, Lithgow, Byrne, Mullin (Todorov 66), Pittman, Cadden (Carrick 58), Mackin (Robinson 66), De Vita, Halkett, Gallacher
Subs not used: Maley, Knox
Goals: Lithgow (82)
Referee: Greg Aitken
Match Report: Andy Crawford