Livi produced a magnificent performance to claim a memorable win over title favourites Dundee United and move into second place in the Ladbrokes Championship.
After Danny Mullen’s early strike had given the Lions the lead, a strong performance saw them keep United at bay comfortably before Nikolay Todorov sealed the points 14 minutes from time.
David Hopkin named an unchanged side from the 2-1 win over Dumbarton two weeks earlier, Nicky Cadden keeping his place in the side despite having gone off with a dislocated shoulder during that win.
Livi started like a side with 13 points in their last five matches and Josh Mullin did well to get himself in down the right on three minutes but Harry Lewis was able to gather his low cross. The opening goal wasn’t long in coming, though, as the Lions forged ahead inside seven minutes.
After Scott Pittman had been fouled inside his own half, Alan Lithgow took the free kick quickly and fired a stunning ball over the top for Danny Mullen who brought the ball under control before sliding a fine low finish under Lewis from the tightest of angles.
Cadden hadn’t looked comfortable, favouring his shoulder as he ran, and it was no great surprise when he was replaced inside twelve minutes, Dale Carrick taking to the field in his place. Livi continued to press forward and Lithgow got on the end of a Mullin free kick but Jackson Longridge slipped as he looked to get on the end of it.
United offered their first threat on 20 minutes and James Keatings tried his luck from distance but the ball flew high over the bar. Livi resumed their dominance and Craig Halkett got on the end of a Mullin free kick on 25 minutes but sent his header over. Halkett was then penalised for a foul as he met another Mullin free kick seven minutes later.
Despite a number of heavy fouls from the visitors, Longridge picked up the first booking on 34 minutes before United made a substitution, sending on ex-Livi loanee Sam Stanton for Jordie Briels. It was almost 2-0 a minute later as Lewis came out to meet a through ball but his headed clearance fell to James Penrice whose first-time lob dropped just over the unguarded net.
Mullin and Shaun Byrne saw long-range efforts go harmlessly wide for Livi as they went it at the break with their lead intact.
Half-time: Livingston 1-0 Dundee United
The home side were braced for a reaction from the visitors but it wasn’t evident in the early stages as the Lions continued to press. Carrick released Mullin down the right on 53 minutes and he fired a teasing low ball across goal that was inches away from the stretching Mullen.
United had their best chance of the afternoon on 54 minutes but it came from a rare Livi error as keeper Neil Alexander flapped at a free kick and the ball dropped to Scott McDonald but his first time effort flew harmlessly wide. Mullen then picked up a yellow card for a show of dissent after being penalised for handball when he felt he had been fouled in the box.
Ray McKinnon’s side were seeing more of the ball in the second half with the Lions happy to rely on their defensive strength and Fraser Fyvie was forced into a long range effort that took a deflection wide for a corner that came to nothing.
Having kept the visitors out comfortably since the interval, the Lions wrapped up the points with 14 minutes left as fine interplay down the right ended with Byrne produced a sublime chip over the top to release Mullin and his low ball was met by Todorov and he slammed the ball home off the underside of the bar from close range.
Mullin picked up a cheap yellow card for kicking the ball away 11 minutes from time before the Lions made their final change, sending Raffaele De Vita on for Longridge.
De Vita almost set the seal on things two minutes from time as he gathered a loose ball at the edge of the box before cutting inside and firing a superb curling strike that soared past Lewis but cannoned back off the inside of the post.
It mattered little as Livi eased through the final seconds to secure a fourth straight win on a joyous afternoon at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
Full-time: Livingston 2-0 Dundee United
Livingston: Alexander, Todorov, Halkett, Lithgow, Mullin, Penrice, Pittman, Byrne, Longridge (De Vita 79), Cadden (Carrick 12 (McMillan 69)), Mullen
Subs not used: Maley, Jacobs, Knox, Henderson
Goals: Mullen (7), Todorov (76)
Dundee Utd: Lewis, Flood, Durnan, Edjenguélé, Robson, McMullan, Briels (Stanton 34), Fyvie, King (N’Koyi 73), McDonald, Keatings
Subs not used: Murdoch, Toshney, Allardice, Smith, Donaldson
Referee: John Beaton
Match Report: Andy Crawford
Photos: Livi Media & Rae Irvine