Livi made the perfect start to their defence of the Petrofac Training Cup as a pair of wonder goals steered them past League Two title favourites Clyde at Almondvale.
Lions boss Mark Burchill made one change from his side’s last friendly match with Liam Buchanan coming into the starting XI in place of trialist Hugo Faria as he looked to build on an encouraging pre-season campaign and get the competitive season off to a winning start.
It was the home side who made a strong start and, within 90 seconds, came close to breaking the deadlock as Ben Gordon met Myles Hippolyte’s cross but could only send his header wide. Neat build-up play then saw Jordan White play in Buchanan but he dragged his shot wide.
The deadlock wasn’t long in coming though and when it arrived on three minutes it was a goal fit to grace any field as Danny Mullen found space 30 yards out and he took a touch before unleashing an absolute thunderbolt which dipped over John Gibson and into the net.
Livi continued to dominate and Jackson Longridge was the net to try his luck from distance but his shot was deflected wide and the resulting corner came to nothing. Hippolyte then cut inside and tried his luck from range but his shot was held by Gibson.
The Lions’ continued dominance was further rewarded on 17 minutes as Hippolyte, the talisman of last season’s glory run, produced a fine curling effort from 25 yards out which nestled perfectly in Gibson’s bottom right-hand corner.
Livi defender Craig Sives picked up the game’s first yellow card for a foul on David Gormley but former Lion Scott McLaughlin could only fire the resultant free kick over the bar. Livi then went up the other end and Mullen teed up Hippolyte for an acrobatic effort which didn’t go on, we’ll leave it at that!
Despite Livi’s dominance, the next goal would go the way of the visitors as Michael Bolochoweckyj met a corner from the right with a powerful header which flew into the net despite the best efforts of the man on the line. The final chance of the half fell to the Lions when Danny Mullen fired a free kick over the bar after Hippolyte had been fouled as the sides went in at the interval with the Lions 2-1 up.
Livi continued to hold the upper hand in the second half as Gordon met a corner but could only send his header over. Clyde’s threat was mainly confined to set pieces and another ex-Lion, Chris Mitchell, tried his luck with a free kick 25 yards out which flew high into the stand.
Kieran Gibbons came close to a debut goal for the Lions with a low, long-range effort which was straight at Gibson before Jordan White sent a header over the bar from a dangerous Longridge cross. Buchanan was the next to go close as Ross Millen found him in the box but the ex-Alloa man’s shot on the turn was brilliantly saved by Gibson.
As the Bully Wee threw men forward in search of an equaliser, Livi were quick on the counter and sub Gary Glen found Mullen but his cross was mishit and White’s header was easily saved by Gibson. Gordon bravely blocked a long range effort from Scott Linton in what proved to be the final action of the match as Livi booked their place in the second round.
So less than four months after lifting the trophy at McDiarmid Park, Livi’s Petrofac Cup campaign is underway again and Monday’s draw has seen the Lions paired with Queen of the South, who we will meet for the second time in four days on Tuesday 18th August.
Before then our Scottish League Cup campaign gets underway next week with a visit from, yes, Clyde followed by our opening league fixture away to Raith Rovers on August 8th.
Livingston: Jamieson, Millen, Longridge, Sives, Gordon, Pittman, White, Mullen (Neill 90), Hippolyte, Gibbons, Buchanan (Glen 81)
Subs not used: Quinn, Sheerin, Trialist, Fraser, Smith
Goals: Mullen (4), Hippolyte (17)
Clyde: Gibson, Linton, M.McLaughlin, Bolochoweckyj, Smith, S.McLaughlin (Ferguson 69), Murray, Gormley (Campbell 72), Higgins, Brisbane, Mitchell (McQueen 89)
Subs not used: McMillan, Robb, Lynass, Trialist
Goals: Bolochoweckyj (35)
Referee: Crawford Allan
Match Report: Andrew Crawford
Half Time Draw
1st 134549 2nd 134507 3rd134550