Four goals in the first-half saw the Lions blow Ayr United away and seal passage to the quarter-final stage of the Betfred Cup.
With Head Coach Gary Holt stepping down from his role during the week leading up to the game, Head of Football Operations David Martindale and Goalkeeper Coach Tony Caig took interim charge for this one.
The pair made 3 changes to the side that lost to St Mirren the week previous with Jack Fitzwater, Josh Mullin & Matej Poplatnik replacing Ciaron Brown, the suspended Jason Holt and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.
Those changes would all combine to give the Lions a whirlwind opening, scoring 3 times in the opening 12 minutes.
Scott Pittman’s deflected effort after 30 seconds won the Lions a corner and after Josh Mullin and Alan Forrest combined to take it short, Mullin’s whipped cross came off the head of Ayr defender Joe Chalmers and beyond goalkeeper Viliami Sinisalo to see the Lions in front before the minute mark.
5 minutes later and the Lions were two ahead. Mullin’s corner was flicked on by Nicky Devlin and fell kindly for Poplatnik who calmly slid the ball to left for Fitzwater who fired beyond Sinisalo with the aid of a deflection.
That goal, his first for the club, was quickly followed up with second as a brilliant cross from Craig Sibbald found the defender at the back post and he towered above the Ayr defender and headed in off the post, giving Sinisalo no chance.
Mullin almost scored himself shortly after when Steve Lawson picked him out with a looping cross from the left but he sent his header over the crossbar.
Mullin would be involved as the Lions made it 4-0 just before half-time. His set-piece into the box was flicked on by Poplatnik, deflected against Sibbald and landed kindly for Alan Forrest who fired low into the net from just inside the box.
With the game all but over by the break, the Lions appeared to take the foot off the gas somewhat in the second-half, despite still controlling the game. With chances at a premium, the game fizzled out and the Lions booked their place in the last-8 of the cup where Sunday night’s draw would see us given a home tie against Celtic’s conquerors, Ross County.
Up next for the Lions though, a fourth successive home game as we welcome Dundee United to the Tony Macaroni Arena.
Livingston: Stryjek, Devlin (⇔ McMillan 75), Guthrie (⇔ Brown ▊ 75), Fitzwater, Lawson ▊, Bartley (⇔ Serrano 65), Sibbald, Mullin (⇔ Emmanuel-Thomas 65), Pitman, Forrest, Poplatnik (⇔ Tiffoney 64)
Subs not used: Robinson, Ambrose, Taylor-Sinclair, Maley
Goals: Chalmers (4 OG), Fitzwater (6 & 12), Forrest (44)
Ayr Utd: Sinisalo, Houston (⇔ McKenzie 76), Roscoe, Baird, Reading, Miller ▊, McCowan, Murdoch (⇔ Zanatta 55), Chalmers, Cameron (⇔ Muirhead 63), Moffat (⇔ Anderson 76)
Subs not used: Hewitt, Hare-Reid, Kerr, Smith
Referee: David Munro
March Report: Dave Black