A blistering first-half performance sent Livingston back into the top four as they netted three times before the break in a 3-1 win over Kilmarnock.
The hosts completely brushed a lacklustre Killie aside in the opening 45 minutes with goals from the returning Joel Nouble being added to by sublime finishes from Bruce Anderson and Stephen Kelly.
Livi looked like a threat every time they entered the visitors’ half but an out of sorts display after the break made things interesting with Christian Doidge pouncing to reduce the arrears just two minutes in. It was far from pretty for much of the second-half but David Martindale’s men held on for a valuable three points.
The hosts were inches away from netting an early opener as Cristian Montano rose highest at the back post but saw his header from a Nicky Devlin cross bounce back off the bar while Nouble’s fizzing effort moments later was scrambled clear after Sam Walker had parried the shot.
Killie didn’t heed the warning signs and quickly found themselves two goals down as firstly Nouble and then Anderson netted to put the Lions in total control early on.
A probing run from Stephen Kelly eventually saw the ball played out to the right flank on 10 minutes with Nouble the beneficiary as the striker nodded home from close range before Anderson produced an exquisite first time finish into the far corner barely two minutes later as he turned home a Devlin cross.
To their credit, Killie refused to throw in the towel and almost pegged one back just before the break with their first effort of note but Kyle Vassell could only find the side netting – with Anderson promptly doing the same seconds later at the other end of the park.
The half-time break did Killie wonders as they looked a completely different team after the interval. It took them only two minutes to force their way back into the contest – although horrendous Livi defending had more than a helping hand in that. The Lions missed multiple opportunities to clear their lines before Doidge turned a Vassell header into the net from close range.
The visitors continued to push men forward in a bid to make for a nervy finish but Livingston held off to claim the points.
Match Report: Callum Carson (West Lothian Courier)
Livingston: George, Devlin ©️, Fitzwater, Boyes, Montaño (Penrice 66 ▊), St.Kelly, Pittman, Sn.Kelly, Bradley (Bahamboula 82), Nouble ▊ (Guthrie 82), Anderson (Holt 74)
Subs not used: Hamilton, Obileye, Longridge, Omeonga, Shinnie
Goals: Nouble (10), Anderson (12), St.Kelly (29)
Kilmarnock: Walker, Alebiosu, Mayo, Wright, Chambers, Armstrong ▊, Power ©️ (Lyons 62), Polworth (Murray 77), McKenzie ▊ (Alston 86), Vassell, Doidge (Robinson 86)
Subs not used: Hemming, Sanders, Stokes, McInroy, Wales
Goals: Doidge (47)
Referee: Colin Steven