Saturday 14 July 2012

Livingston 3-2 Kilmarnock

A superb second half comeback earned us a fine friendly win against SPL side Kilmarnock at Grangemouth Stadium this afternoon.

Trailing by two goals at the half time interval, we looked dead and buried against a sharp and clinical Killie side.

But an impressive second half performance saw us claw back the deficit before sub Marc McNulty struck a winning third goal.

After starting with Iain Russell up front on his own, our gameplan had to be amended within ten minutes when Kyle Jacobs limped off with a knee injury to be replaced by Marc McNulty.

Killie went ahead on the quarter hour mark when Gary Harkins' shot was deflected past a stranded Andy McNeil.

Nine minutes later, the Ayrshire side were almost two ahead but the troublesome William Gros was denied a second goal by the post.

The second Kilmarnock goal did come five minutes before the break when Rory McKenzie - arguably their best player on the day - finished clinically when given time and space in the box.

Our best chances in the first half came from distance, Calum Fordyce and Iain Russell both having decent attempts on goal, the latter trundling agonisingly wide.

There was a noticeable increase in tempo from us after the interval with Morton and McCann both forcing Killie keeper Anssi Jaakkola into early saves.

The Finnish goalie was powerless moments later though as we pulled a goal back.

McNulty sprang the Killie offside trap and squared to Iain Russell who strung the Finn's palms with a powerful strike. The ball broke to recent signing Tony Andreu, who toe-poked into the net for his first Livingston goal.

We were very much in the ascendency after getting the first goal. Keaghan Jacobs flashed a shot across goal, and there was another save from Jaakkola from Andreu.

Bobby Barr replaced Iain Russell to freshen up our offensive options, and the chance paid off within two minutes when McNulty pounced on a spill from Jaakkola and cut the ball back for Barr to lash the ball into the roof of the net.

Our third goal came shortly afterwards to complete a superb comeback, when McNulty latched onto a long McNeil clearance before sliding the ball past the advancing keeper.

Killie still posed a threat but our earlier pre-season start seemed to give us the edge in terms of fitness.

McKenzie did fire a decent shot narrowly over the bar, but the best chance of the closing stages came from the lively McNulty who forced another good diving save.

While results are almost incidental in friendlies, the manner in which this victory was achieved cannot have been anything other than a huge plus for the players as they continue to build up to our Ramsdens Cup date with Annan in a fortnight's time.

Livingston: McNeil, McCann, Fordyce (McDonald 63), Watson, C Barr, Ky Jacobs (McNulty 12), Ke Jacobs, Andreu (Downie 75), I Russell (B Barr 61), Scougall, Morton (Cummings 77). Sub not used: A Russell, Jamieson.

All pics © Steven Carrie