Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1-3 Livingston

Livi made it three games unbeaten in the Championship as they claimed a fine win over old rivals Inverness CT at the Caledonian Stadium.

After Nikolay Todorov’s strike had been cancelled out by Connor Bell, second half strikes from Scott Robinson and captain Craig Halkett sealed a win for the Lions in the first league meeting of the two sides since 2006.

Livi boss David Hopkin made two changes from the side that drew against Queen of the South as Scott Robinson and Dylan Mackin came in for Declan Gallagher and Keaghan Jacobs with Todorov dropping back to the centre of the defence.

The home side, under ex-Livi player, coach and manager John Robertson, had a great chance to take the lead inside the first minute as John Baird ran clean through on goal but Neil Alexander made a fine save with his legs. More pressure from the hosts saw them force a couple of corners but Alexander was equal to both.

Livi had their first chance of the match on 13 minutes as Josh Mullin’s fine cross was met by Mackin but his glancing header was well saved by Mark Ridgers. Mackin went close again a minute later, this time with a low drive that Ridgers did well to push wide.

Caley pressed forward again but did little to test the Lions defence before Livi launched a counter attack that saw Danny Mullen go clear but he was bundled off the ball, though no foul was given. The hosts then tried their luck with a couple of long range efforts, Iain Vigurs seeing a shot deflected wide before Brad McKay’s effort trundled harmlessly wide of Alexander’s goal.

After surviving that spell of Caley pressure, the Lions stormed up the other end and broke the deadlock on 24 minutes as Mullin’s corner found Todorov unmarked in the box and he stabbed the ball home from close range.

The lead was short-lived, however, as Caley drew level three minutes later when Bell got in down the left and fired high past Alexander from a tight angle, though the Livi no.1 may feel he should have done better. The home side thought they’d gone in front on the half hour as Bell headed home but he was denied by the offside flag.

Mackin tried his luck from distance on 35 minutes but saw his effort fly high over the bar before Shaun Byrne made a brave block from Vigurs’ free kick shortly after. Livi picked up a glut of bookings late in the half as Mullin, Mullen and Alan Lithgow fell foul of ref Craig Charleston before the sides went in at the break all square.

Half-time: Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1-1 Livingston

Livi made a bright start to the second half and came close when Mullin came in off the right wing and let fly from long range but saw his effort fly wide. They weren’t to be denied, though, and regained the lead on 52 minutes with a fine goal as Byrne’s dinked cross was headed back across goal by Todorov and Robinson was on hand to fire home from close range.

The hosts passed up a good chance to draw level again on 56 minutes as Vigurs fired wide from the left hand side of the box before Livi made their first change three minutes later as Nicky Cadden replaced Mackin. A second change followed soon after as Robinson was replaced by Jack McMillan for his Livi debut.

Lithgow tried his luck from 25 yards on 68 minutes but saw his effort fly just wide as he continued his search for a first Livi goal. Debutant McMillan almost got his first goal in fortuitous circumstances three minutes later as he was released by Scott Pittman and fired in a low cross that almost snuck in before David Raven cleared.

As it was, the killer third goal was only a minute later in coming and it was one to remember as the ball fell to Halkett at the edge of the box and he unleashed a stunning volley that fizzed past Ridgers into the far corner of the net. Livi made their final change during the celebrations as Mullen was replaced by James Penrice.

The Lions almost had a fourth goal on 78 minutes when Cadden did brilliantly to get to the byline and whip in a cross that was met by Todorov but his header was deflected wide. The Bulgarian came close again four minutes later when he was teed up by Pittman but shot straight at Ridgers.

Livi were well in command and came close again on 84 minutes when Lithgow rolled a free kick to Mullin but his ferocious effort  whistled just wide of the far post. Caley’s final effort of note summed up their day as they forced a corner that cannoned off one of their own players and out for goal kick as the Lions eased to victory.

In truth, it was hard to tell which of the two sides had been playing in the Premiership last season as Livi remained unbeaten away from home in the league in 2017.

Full-time: Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1-3 Livingston

Inverness CT: Ridgers, Raven, Warren, Mckay, Chalmers (Tremarco 77), Polworth, Trafford, Vigurs Bell, Cooper (Oakley 64), Baird (Mulraney 71)
Subs not used: Esson, Elsdon, Calder, Donaldson
Goals: Bell (27)

Livingston: Alexander, Longridge, Lithgow, Byrne, Mullin, Pittman, Todorov, Mullen (Penrice 73), Mackin (Cadden 59), Robinson (McMillan 64), Halkett
Subs not used: Maley, Jacobs, Carrick, De Vita
Goals: Todorov (24), Robinson (52), Halkett (72)

Referee:  Craig Charleston
Att: 2,007
Match Report: Andy Crawford

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