Our supporters team FC Livingston GS lived the dream as they took on their boyhood heroes in a specially-arranged friendly match – though a famous victory proved beyond them as Livi ran out comfortable winners.
Guest players Jack Hogarth, Keith Paterson and Mike Ward joined an otherwise strong Livi starting line-up which also saw Matthew Knox make his first start for the first team.
Unsurprisingly it was Livi who dominated much of the early proceedings, the first chance coming when Ryan Currie released Keith Paterson but his shot was well saved by Jordan McAlpine in the GS goal. The opening goal arrived on five minutes as Scott Pittman found space outside the box and fired in a shot that deflected off Kevin Greenan and looped over McAlpine.
GS responded well to the loss of the goal and forced their first chance within a minute as Shaun Conway’s cross was cleared as far as Joni Agini who fired a volley wide from the edge of the box. Livi quickly reasserted themselves and began peppering the GS box with crosses but McAlpine was equal to them. Livi made their first change on 15 minutes as Paterson was replaced by Stephen Sproule, aka ‘Cheb’, who sported one of the biggest pairs of shorts ever seen!
Ryan Currie was next to go close for Livi as he went on a mazy run into the box but McAlpine was out sharply to make a fine save. GS began to enjoy a bit of pressure and good build up play saw Dave Black played in down the right and he hit the byline but saw his cut back blocked for a corner. Connor Lynch won a couple of headers from the corner before Livi eventually cleared.
Livi grabbed their second goal on 29 minutes when Currie got the byline and his cut back fell perfectly for Knox to slam home his first senior goal. They nearly had a third two minutes later when Ward rounded McAlpine and cut the ball back for Telfer but his shot was brilliantly cleared off the line by Conway.
McAlpine then came to GS’ rescue with a magnificent double save, first denying Osman Kakay’s shot from the edge of the box before springing up to block Telfer’s rebound effort from point blank range. Livi then made their second change as Andy McKenzie took the place of Ward.
Charlie Telfer tried his luck from distance but his effort was deflected for a corner by Greenan. Keeper Marc McCallum made his way up for the corner, carrying a little extra weight as he did so, only to be left frustrated as the kick was taken short. Livi eventually got their third goal on 40 minutes but it was worth the wait as Knox took a touch before unleashing a sensational strike from the angle of the box that soared into the top corner.
Morgyn Neill tried his luck from distance two minutes later with an effort which McAlpine did well to tip over – McCallum came up once again but this time was penalised for a foul on his opposite number. GS mounted a swift counter attack from the free kick and Black released Richie Kay down the right hand side. He got to the byline and cut the ball to Black at the edge of the box who saw his shot deflected just wide. The resulting corner came to nothing as Livi went in at the interval with a three-goal lead.
Half-time: FC Livingston GS 0-3 Livingston
Livi made wholesale changes at the start of the second half with only Knox, Currie, Sproule and Hogarth returning after the break. GS made just the one change as Dougie Shaw replaced Greenan. A further Livi change on 53 minutes saw Davie Martindale replace Sproule.
The first chance of the half fell GS’ way as a corner from Graham Yorke caused chaos in the Livi box and Paul Miller’s low shot was well saved by Darren Jamieson before Livi managed to scramble it clear. Livi would not be so wasteful when their next chance came along as Josh Mullin burst into the box and slammed the ball home to make it 4-0.
GS made wholesale changes on the hour mark as Stuart Heggie, Dean Bremner, Darren O’Neill, Craig Bowman and Wullie McDonald came on for Yorke, Agini, Chris Love, Scott Johnston and Miller. The changes seemed to unsettle GS slightly and Livi took full advantage to go 5-0 up as Sam Stanton fired home.
Another couple of Livi changes saw Morgyn Neill return to the action in place of Currie while Marc McCallum came on for a stint outfield to replace Knox. GS also made a few changes, replacing Lynch, Kay and Conway with Scott Munro, Ryan Mutter and Steve Lyon.
On 70 minutes a long ball from Jamieson was well controlled by Neill and he fired in a powerful effort that McAlpine did well to hold. The sixth goal did arrive a minute later and it was a moment to remember for McCallum as he danced into the box and fired past McAlpine. He decided to quit while he was ahead and was swiftly replaced by Andy McKenzie.
GS came within inches of a memorable goal on 74 minutes when the ball fell to Black around 40 yards out and, with Jamieson out of his goal, he fired in a terrific effort that dropped inches wide of the unguarded net.
Livi made a final change as McCallum came on for a third spell in place of Neill. GS also made some “changes” with five minutes to go as they supplemented their attacking options by sending the nine players who had been substituted back on in place of, well, no one! Their numerical advantage paid off with the last kick of the game as, after a corner led to a goalmouth stramash, the ball broke to Chris Love and he slotted a cool finish beyond Jamieson to spark the loudest cheer of the day and add another unforgettable moment to the long list that GS have enjoyed in recent years.
Full-time: FC Livingston GS 1-6 Livingston
FC Livingston GS: McAlpine, Johnston, Greenan, Lynch, Yorke, Conway, Agini, Love, Miller, Black, Kay.
Subs: Shaw, Munro, Heggie, Mutter, Bowman, McDonald, O’Neill, Lyon, Bremner.
Livingston: McCallum, Hogarth, Neill, Longridge, Kakay, Telfer, Pittman, Currie, Knox, Paterson, Ward.
Subs: Jamieson, Ritchie, Sproule, McKenzie, Halkett, Mullin, Cole, White, Stanton, Martindale