Livi rounded off the regular season with a narrow defeat to promotion-chasing Raith Rovers as both sides get ready for play-off battles at either end of the Ladbrokes Championship.
In a game that looked every inch an end-of-season affair, an early second half strike settled things though Livi might have felt hard done by not to have taken a point.
Livi boss David Hopkin made five changes to his sidea after the fine 1-0 win over Rangers as Darren Jamieson, Jordyn Sheerin, Ryan Currie, Charlie Telfer and Mark Fotheringham came in for Marc McCallum, Jordan White, Sam Stanton, Scott Pittman and Jackson Longridge. It was a first senior start for Currie.
It was Ray McKinnon’s Rovers who started the brighter but it was 15 minutes before the first real chance arrived as Ryan Hardie broke past Craig Halkett but Jamieson made an excellent save. The resultant corner found Craig Barr who teed up Hardie but this time he sent his shot over.
Raith were in control and came close again on 19 minutes as Hardie turned provider to set up James Craigen but he shot over the bar. There were a touching moment as both sets of supporters joined in a minute’s applause on 27 minutes in honour of the long overdue justice for the victims of the Hillsborough disaster and their families.
Livi hadn’t had a sniff at the Rovers goal and the visitors went close again on 32 minutes when Barr met Aiden Connolly’s corner but headed over the bar. Seven minutes later history repeated itself as Barr rose highest at another corner but this time his powerful header flew wide. Another Rovers chance on 43 minutes saw Craigen whip in a powerful, curling effort that Jamieson did well to parry to safety.
The Lions finally showed their teeth in the dying minutes of the half as Matthew Knox ghosted past his marker into space in the box and fired in a low effort that Barr did well to block. They went close again a minute later as Fotheringham fired in a fierce drive from the edge of the box that Rovers keeper Kevin Cuthbert did well to save and ensure his side went in at the break all-square.
Half-time: Livingston 0-0 Raith Rovers
Livi picked up where they left off at the end of the first half as the second period got underway and Sheerin did brilliantly to outmuscle his marker and fire in a powerful shot that Cuthbert did well to palm clear. Rovers made their first change on 48 minutes as Mark Stewart came on for Craigen and they broke the deadlock two minutes later when a low cross found Connolly and he tapped into an empty net.
Livi responded well to losing the goal and Sheerin forced a half-chance when a ball over the top send him clear but he was forced a little bit wide and his shot didn’t trouble Cuthbert. The first yellow card of the match came on 55 minutes as Louis Longridge fouled Fotheringham, though the resulting free kick came to nothing.
Livi made their first change on 66 minutes as Liam Buchanan came on for Sheerin before Danny Mullen was booked after the referee handled a throw-in decision very badly. Raith’s second change followed shortly after as Harry Panayiotou replaced Longridge. Halkett and Barr then suffered a nasty clash of heads which left both men unable to continue. Halkett was replaced by Darren Cole while Jordan White also came on for Danny Mullen. Barr was replaced by Ross Matthews.
White forced a big chance on 73 minutes when a cross fell to him around 12 yards out but his volleyed effort trundled inches wide. Excellent play from Currie saw him get to the byline and cut the ball back for White who teed up Buchanan but Cuthbert saved well. The resultant corner was cleared as far as Knox but his curling effort went wide.
Rovers then passed up a chance to double their lead when a cross was met by veteran midfielder Iain Davidson but his header went wide. That proved to be the final action of the match as Rovers secured the victory, with both sides now turning their attention to the play-off clashes ahead.
Full-time: Livingston 0-1 Raith Rovers
Livingston: Jamieson, Halkett (Cole 71), Kakay, Neill, Fotheringham, Mullin, Mullen (White 71), Knox, Sheerin (Buchanan 60), Telfer, Currie
Subs not used: McCallum, Stanton, Pittman, Longridge
Raith Rovers: Cuthbert, Thomson, Callachan, Toshney, Davidson, Hardie, Connolly, Longridge (Panayiotou 68), McKeown, Craigen (Stewart 49), Barr (Matthews 70)
Subs not used: Law, Anderson, McCord, Bates
Goals: Connolly (50)
Referee: Craig Charleston
Match Report: Andy Crawford