It was a battle of the passers as Livingston manager John Hughes took his youthful side to face his former side. It was Livingston that were to come out on top in a battling victory, with a man each sent off, it was an injury time screamer by Tony Andreu that won the game for the visitors, complementing Callum Fordyce’s first half goal.
Both sides began brightly, but failed to really test the keeper, Bobby Barr sent a great cross across the face of the goal, but none of the advancing Livi players managed to get a connection, before Paul Watson thwarted Higgins at the last moment from a brilliant Lyle Taylor cross into the 6yd box.
Fordyce had the best chance to opening the scoring with just over 20mins past, heading a corner just wide from close range. Higgins should have tested McNeil at the other end, but his volley failed to connect with the ball in a very dangerous position.
It was Jordan Morton for Livingston that first tested either of the keepers, a long range shot destined for the top corner was brilliantly held by Michael McGovern.
It was Falkirk however that were to take the lead, moments after another penalty call was denied, Paul Watson was penalised for fouling in the box, earning himself a yellow card for his troubles. Stewart Murdoch stepped up to the spot and confidently sent McNeil the wrong way.
Livingston were quick to respond, however, Bobby Barr latching onto an Iain Russell through ball, sending in an excellent shot which McGovern did well to top over for a corner. The Lions weren’t to be denied however, and Callum Fordyce caught Stefan Scougall’s cross at the near post with a neat header into the net. The Lions confidence grew as the half time whistle drew nearer, and a Bobby Barr cross was very nearly scored by both new signing Callum Booth and then by Iain Russell.
Livingston were reduced to ten men just 3 minutes into the second half, Paul Watson shown a straight red for a dreadful tackle on the wing, taking out the Falkirk winger at full pelt.
Minutes later, Livingston were lucky not to concede another penalty, with Falkirk gaining a Free Kick on the edge of the box, but Murdoch’s shot was scrambled clear. Taylor then had a shot saved by McNeil before a quick counter attack led to a Bobby Barr shot being deflected wide.
McNeil then showed strength to comfortably hold a powerful Higgins effort, although the shot was straight at him. Higgins was unlucky again moments later, just failing to connect with an overhead kick from a McNeil parry.
Livingston had their best chance of the half to go ahead when Russell slid the ball through to Andreu, however the midfielder sent the ball a little too far for himself on the last turn, with McGregor comfortably claiming the ball. With five minutes of ordinary time left, Hughes made a shrewd move, taking Bobby Barr off in favour of striker Marc McNulty, and his impact on the game was immediate, creating a more pressuring attack.
As the final whistle approached and well into injury time, Calum Booth sent a great ball across the park to the feet of Ross Docherty, with the Livi youngster sending a pinpoint pass to the feet of Anthony Andreu who took a quick, powerful, curling effort straight into the top corner, leaving McGregor with no chance to save and Falkirk no chance to come back.
Though there were still areas to improve on, Livingston managed to get their first win of the league season, the passing game improving with each week that goes on, the players are looking sharper and the new players are fitting well into the style. The team and fans will be hoping that the club can carry it on after the international break.
McGovern, Duffie, Dods, Flynn, Kingsley, Alston (Haworth 45), D.Fulton (J.Fulton 21), Murdoch, Weatherston (Sibbald 62), Higgins, Taylor
Subs not used: Bowman, Smith
McNeil, Fordyce, Booth, Watson, C.Barr, Docherty, B.Barr (McNulty 85), I.Russell, Andreu, Scougall, Morton (McDonald 69)
Subs not used: Easton, Downie, Jamieson
Referee: Euan Norris
Official Attendance: 2,974
Match report: Chris Naismith
Pics: Steven Carrie