Livi produced another inspired performance to thump promotion-chasing Raith Rovers and move out of the bottom two in the Ladbrokes Championship.
The Lions picked up where they left off last week at Queen of the South to claim their first home league win of the season and avenge the opening-day defeat they suffered against Rovers at Stark’s Park.
Livi boss Mark Burchill made just one change to his starting XI as Liam Buchanan came in from the start after his starring role from the bench at Palmerston in place of Jordyn Sheerin.
It was Buchanan who had the first chance of note inside two minutes when he cut inside from the left but could only drag his effort wide of Kevin Cuthbert’s near post. It proved a sign of things to come for the Lions as they moved in front on six minutes when a looping cross came in from the left and Jordan White outjumped Cuthbert to nod home despite the best efforts of the defender on the line. Cuthbert claimed he was fouled but he simply wasn’t strong enough to beat the Livi frontman to the ball.
Livi were spurred on by the early goal and came close again on the counter when White picked the ball up on the left but saw his attempt to square it to Buchanan blocked by the defender. From the resulting corner, Morgyn Neill rose well but could only head straight at Cuthbert. A low cross was then neatly flicked on by Gallagher but there was no one in yellow to get on the end of it and the ball was cleared.
Despite Livi’s dominance, Rovers wasted a golden chance to draw level when Marc McCallum palmed at a cross and it fell for Mark Stewart but, with the goal at his mercy, he could only send his shot high over the bar. Livi then went up the other end and Kieran Gibbons sent in a fine cross that almost reached White but Raith managed to scramble it clear.
Rovers had another chance to equalise on 32 minutes when a cross found Grant Anderson at the back post but he headed across goal and wide. Jon Daly then saw a shot well saved by McCallum as Rovers pressed but Livi held out to go in at half-time with a one-goal lead.
Half time: Livingston 1-0 Raith Rovers
The second half was a bit slower in bursting into life compared to the first period but Livi almost found a second goal on 54 minutes when Jackson Longridge let fly from fully 40 yards but saw his effort fly into the side netting with Cuthbert helpless. Hugo Faria then picked up the game’s first yellow card for a tug on Raith sub Craig Wighton.
If Longridge’s effort would have been spectacular, the second goal, when it did arrive, was one of stunning simplicity as Gary Glen’s corner from the right was met by the unmarked Declan Gallagher and he marked his 50th appearance with a bullet header high into the net.
Before Rovers could even think about their next move Livi put the game beyond all doubt as Gibbons’ downward header found White unmarked and he took a touch before slamming a fine left-footed strike into the far corner of the net. Gallagher then picked up Livi’s second booking for a foul on Kyle Benedictus.
Burchill made his first change on 71 minutes as Myles Hippolyte replaced Buchanan and made a further double change six minutes later as Sheerin and Ryan Currie replaced Gibbons and Glen. In between the changes, White came agonisingly close to teeing up Hippolyte but the Raith defence just cleared in time.
After quickfire bookings for Rovers duo Benedictus and Iain Davidson, White came close to completing a perfect hat-trick when he looped a right-footed effort just over the bar but it mattered little as Livi cruised to an impressive win and moved up to seventh in the table, 11 points behind fourth-placed Rovers.
Full-time: Livingston 3-0 Raith Rovers
Next up for the Lions is a trip to sixth-placed Greenock Morton this coming Saturday, when Burchill’s boys will look to close the gap on the teams above them by claiming a third successive victory.
Livingston: McCallum, Longridge, Gordon, Pittman, Faria, White, Gallagher, Neill, Gibbons (Currie 77), Buchanan (Hippolyte 71), Glen (Sheerin 77)
Subs not used: Jamieson, Millen, Georgiev
Goals: White (6 & 64), Gallagher (61)
Raith Rovers: Cuthbert, Thomson (Wighton 42), Toshney, Benedictus, Anderson, McCord (Megginson 58), Stewart, Davidson, Daly, McKeown, Robertson
Subs not used: Laidlaw, Petrie, Callachan, Matthews, Craigen
Referee: Crawford Allan
Match Report: Andy Crawford