Livingston came from behind to take all three points in a bad tempered match at New Douglas Park. Hamilton went ahead early on, but within 10 minutes Livingston were on top. Meanwhile, both teams finished the game with 10 men as tempers frayed.
Livingston fell behind, with less than 90 seconds on the clock to a Steven May strike. The Accies’ striker twisted and dodged his way through the Livi defence and made no mistake with his finish.
Livingston were quick to respond, with Kyle Jacobs taking a shot, which was easily held by Kevin Cuthbert. Cuthbert wasn’t so lucky a few moments later though, as Livi midfielder Stefan Scougall sent a shot into the bottom corner to draw the score level.
Livingston took the lead a few minutes later, Tony Andreu sent Marc McNulty through on goals, who then neatly chipped the keeper to make it 2-1 to the Lions.
McNulty was denied by the feet of Cuthbert with quarter of an hour gone, the young striker brought a Kyle Jacobs pass under control, before Cuthbert got down well to save. Minutes later, Scougall’s shot was deflected to the feet of Andreu who saw his strike go out for a corner. McNulty came close from the resultant corner, taking a first time strike with his right foot, but Cuthbert was more than equal.
The Lions had Andy McNeil to thank for keeping the scores equal, tipping over a May shot after the striker had dispossessed Kevin McCann.
Hamilton were getting back into the game and began to pressure as the first half drew to a close, Andy McNeil, again pulling off a great save from a Ali Crawford strike. Returning captain Liam Fox almost gave the home side the equaliser after mishitting a clearance, but the Accies failed to capitalise.
The second half began as much like the first, with both sides keen to take the initiative. Louis Longridge saw his shot from the back post fire into the side netting. Moments later, Stefan Scougall come close at the other range volleying a Calum Booth head down, but Cuthbert thwarted the shot.
Keaghan Jacobs was next to try his luck, a quick counter attack led to Stefan Scougall sending him through on goal, but the shot from 20 yards cleared the bar.
Livingston had two quick chances; a shot at the back post was saved by Cuthbert, and seconds later, Scougall should have connected better onto an Iain Russell cross, but he was facing the wrong direction.
Hamilton pressured the Lions inside their own 6 yard box as the second half passed the 20 minute mark, but nobody managed to connect with the ball to put it in the back of the net and the Livi defence managed to clear.
In a hot tempered few minutes, Alex Neil gave away a free kick and was booked for the privilege on the wing, but the Lions failed to take advantage of the free kick. Neil was given his marching orders a few minutes later after a poor tackle.
The numbers were evened up just over three minutes later as McCann headed for an early bath for a second yellow after a rash tackle in the middle of the pitch.
As tempers rose, the chances kept coming, Andy McNeil denying May after grabbing the ball at his feet before Livingston had a quick three chances of their own. Cuthbert did well to tip over a powerful Iain Russell shot, before Craig Barr’s header from a corner was kicked off the line. Scougall almost capitalised on the spilled ball at the back post, but his shot was deflected wide for a corner.
Hamilton then had a strong penalty claim denied as Craig Barr slid in on May, but the referee and his assistant judged that the ball had been won. A few minutes later, a simple shot almost led to an own goal by McNeil as he stumbled backwards, only just keeping the ball over on the right side of the line.
Grant Gillespie almost stole an equaliser, but the defender shot well wide from a great position, without managing to test McNeil.
As the game came close to an end, Iain Russell and Kevin Cuthbert both found themselves in the book. Russell was booked for a dive after having gone in towards Cuthbert, but the big keeper was booked for his aggressive response to the incident.
The tackles were flying in, leading to Kyle Jacobs stumbling off after overstretching himself in yet another sliding tackle.
The Lions clung on to the lead despite the pressure, earning themselves a valuable three points. The home side just about deserved a draw with their pressure, but they didn’t send enough shots into to truly test McNeil, and in the end the points are all heading back to Almondvale.
Cuthbert, Gillespie, Canning, Page, Hendrie, Routledge, Neil, Crawford, Longridge (Keatings 58), Fraser (Fisher 59 (Ryan 67)), May
Subs not used: Christie, Devlin
McNeil, McCann, Booth, Garcia Tena, C.Barr, Ky.Jacobs (Fordyce 90), Andreu, Fox, McNulty (I.Russell 59), Scougall, Kn.Jacobs
Subs not used: Docherty, Morton, Jamieson
Referee: George Salmond
Official Attendance: 943
Match report: Chris Naismith