Livi’s League Cup adventure came to a shuddering end as Adam Rooney’s hat-trick carried holders Aberdeen into the quarter-finals.
The scoreline was undoubtedly harsh on the Lions as they more than matched their Premiership hosts for the first hour until the comfort of a two-goal cushion allowed the Dons to pull clear in the last third of the match.
Livi looked composed on the ball in the early stages but found themselves a goal down inside nine minutes as, after a corner was clear, the ball was returned deep to the far post for Ash Taylor and he nodded the ball back across goal and into the corner of the net to get the Dons’ defence of the League Cup of to a dream start.
Livi were unbowed by the early setback and took the game to the Dons with Keaghan Jacobs coming close with a thunderous effort from the edge of the box which debutant keeper Scott Brown did well to parry clear, with Mark Reynolds completing the clearance. Jordan White then played Michael McKenna in down the right hand side and his cross found Gary Glen in the middle but he could only send his shot over the bar.
The Lions were nearly caught on the counter as David Goodwillie threatened but excellent teamwork from Burton O’Brien and Jason Talbot snuffed out the danger. The match was swinging from end to end and Glen was denied a run at the Dons defence by a blatant foul which ref Andrew Dallas inexplicably failed to spot. The Dons then came close to a second as fine build-up play saw Goodwillie feed Rooney eight yards out but his effort was brilliantly saved by a stretching Darren Jamieson. The Lions then claimed for a penalty when White was bundled over but, again, the referee was unmoved.
Aberdeen were then denied again by the brilliance of Jamieson as he dived full-stretch to repel Goodwillie’s effort before some last-ditch defending got the ball clear. Livi then went up the other end and came agonisingly close to a leveller when Glen fired in a fine angled drive from 20 yards which Brown did well to tip wide. White then ran at the Dons defence and dug out a decent strike which Brown tipped over as Livi began to dominate. The last chance of the half, though, fell Aberdeen’s way as the ball fell to Shay Logan in the box but he shot over.
Livi had impressed in the first half without troubling the scoreboard and they continued to press forward as the second half got underway. They were screaming for a penalty once again early on as Reynolds appeared to handle the ball but there was nothing doing from referee Dallas. The Dons had the first chance of the half soon after as Nicky Low drilled in a low effort which Jamieson did well to gather. If Reynolds’ handball was debatable, there could be no argument when Livi’s Kyle Jacobs literally punched the ball away from danger inside the box. How the referee missed it is anyone’s guess!
Myles Hippolyte took to the field soon after and came agonisingly close to an equaliser with his first involvement, turning and driving at the Dons defence before drilling a low effort agonisingly wide. It proved a crucial miss as Aberdeen went up the other end and doubled their lead as a sublime flick from Goodwillie released Rooney and he slammed the ball high into the net off the underside of the bar. After a potentially serious injury to the Dons Ryan Jack caused a significant delay, Aberdeen made up for lost time and grabbed a third soon after as Rooney drove at the defence and fired a fine low drive beyond Jamieson’s despairing dive to make it 3-0.
Rooney then set the seal on Aberdeen’s progress to the last-eight as Jonny Hayes drove to the byline and drilled a low ball in for the ex-Inverness man to flash a first-time finish beyond Jamieson and give the final scoreline an unjust look. Few could argue Aberdeen were worthy winners but a four-goal margin disguised the full part Livi had played in an enjoyable 90 minutes.
Aberdeen: 2 Logan, 5 Taylor, 6 Reynolds, 8 Flood, 9 Rooney, 11 Hayes, 16 Pawlett, 17 Goodwillie (Smith 71), 18 Low (Considine 61), 20 Brown, 22 Jack (Robson 71)
Subs not used: 1 Langfield, 7 Monakana, 25 Shankland, 27 Murray
Livingston: 1 Jamieson, 2 Sives, 3 Talbot, 5 Fordyce, 6 Ky.Jacobs, 7 Kn.Jacobs, 8 O'Brien, 10 Robertson (Hippolyte 57), 17 McKenna (Mullen 79), 18 White, 19 Glen (Ogleby 78)
Subs not used: 16 Beaumont, 21 Grant, 27 Burchill, 31 Rutherford
Referee: Andrew Dallas
Match report: Andrew Crawford