After a grueling but successful pre season schedule, Gary Bollan’s Livi side started their competitive action with a bang at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadum.
The Ramsdens Cup first round tie started slowly, with not much in the way of a clear cut chance in the first half. Ex-Lion Chris Malone did think he’d managed to snatch a goal against his former side early on, with a whipped Ally Woodburn free kick being powered into the net by the full back from close range. As he ran away in celebration, however, referee Charlie Richmond blew for offside
David Sinclair then came close for the visitors when Liam Fox set up the midfielder, and his 25 yard shot whistled past the left hand post.
Despite pockets of Livi pressure, Airdrie continued to edge the first half action – when John Boyle was sent racing clear in on goal, it was only a fantastic late lunge at the ball from Jason Talbot that thwarted the Diamonds forward and knocked the ball out for a corner – but an opener would not come for Jimmy Boyle’s men.
After the break the Lions were a changed side and went about taking apart an increasingly fragile Airdrie defence that ceded chance after chance to their opponents from last season.
With fifty minutes on the clock Bobby Barr and Iain Russell combined on the right before squaring the ball to the free David Sinclair, and the midfielder had no problems in coolly slotting the ball past an out of position Paul McKane in the home goal.
A second goal quickly followed when Russell found himself on the end of a bouncing through ball from Craig Barr and the front man lifted the ball over McKane to double Livi’s lead.
Airdrie rattled the post after Darren Jamieson lost a corner in the air, but Bollan’s men were on a roll and ramped up the pressure. Captain Liam Fox was denied when he saw his own half volley from the edge of the penalty area well saved by McKane, and it wasn’t long before a third goal came – and again it was Russell who delivered.
He controlled the ball on the right hand corner of the box and unleashed a stunning half volley that zipped into the top corner.
With the game over as a contest, Livi took full control and it was hardly surprising when a fourth goal was eventually manufactured. Bobby Barr worked hard to get in control of a ball down the right flank, and whether a moment of genius or a miscued cross he succeeded in lofting the ball straight over a busy penalty area and goalkeeper, and into the net.
Barr, who missed the conclusion of last season through injury, went about cementing his place in the side with a second and Livi’s fifth in stoppage time. A mix up in the Airdrie defence left him with his back to goal in the penalty area and the former Albion Rovers man executed a neat turn to put himself one on one with McKane.
Bar kept his composure to curl the ball away from the keeper and put the finish on the Lions’ advancement into the second round of the competition.
Airdrie United: McKain, Bain, Lovering, Stallard, Malone, Devlin, Woodburn (Keast 71), Blackley, Donnelly, Boyle (Sally 59), Holmes (Morton 79)
Subs not used: Duncan, Hill
Livingston: Jamieson, Brown, Talbot, Sinclair (Docherty 85), C.Barr (Travis 85), Watson, Fox, Kn.Jacobs, B.Barr, Deuchar (McNulty 78), Russell
Subs not used: Murphy, Ky.Jacobs
Ref: C Richmond
Match report by Calum Leslie