Livi provided their fans with some Christmas cheer as they thumped St Mirren to move out of the Championship relegation play-off place at the Buddies’ expense.
With David Hopkin in caretaker charge following Mark Burchill’s departure, a Gary Glen inspired Livi produced a clinical display to comfortably see off their relegation rivals and ruin their new boss Alex Rae’s home debut.
Hopkin made two changes to the starting line-up for his first game in charge as Liam Buchanan and Danny Mullen came in for Jordyn Sheerin and Kieran Gibbons.
St Mirren had the first chance of the game on four minutes as Lawrence Shankland found space but his shot was tame and straight at Marc McCallum. Livi then had their first venture forward where Buchanan played the ball out wide to Mullen but he shot wide from a tight angle. Livi then had a great chance when Glen played in Buchanan down the right and his cut back found Mullen but a last ditch tackle prevented him getting a shot away.
Saints were forced into a change on 15 minutes when Jack Baird replaced the injured Craig Reid and they came close to an opener three minutes later when Scott Agnew beat Glen to a cross but headed over the bar. Glen then headed up the other end and fired an effort wide from the angle of the box.
The deadlock was eventually broken on 23 minutes when Glen found space on the right to whip in a sumptuous cross and Buchanan slid in to turn it home and make it 1-0. It wasn’t long before Livi’s lead was doubled, with Glen again the architect, as he curled in a fine free kick from left and Ben Gordon was left unmarked to slam it into the roof of the net. Glen then curled a free kick over the bar as Livi continued to press.
The Lions were caught out on 41 minutes though as St Mirren pulled one back as the ball was cut back for Shankland to turn it home. A late Saints corner came to nothing as Livi headed in at the interval with a one goal lead.
Half-time: St Mirren 1-2 Livingston
Livi started the second half strongly and came close to making it 3-1 when Buddies keeper Jamie Langfield scuffed a clearance straight to Buchanan but his attempt to square the ball to Jordan White for a tap-in was cut out. The third goal eventually arrived on 53 minutes and it did so in spectacular style as Glen fired in a stunning free kick from 30 yards with Langfield clawing at thin air.
Livi made their first change on the hour as Myles Hippolyte replaced Mullen but it did little to knock them out of their stride and, having survived a scare when the home side managed to miss an open goal, they made it 4-1 on 66 minutes when White played a delicious through ball to send Buchanan clear and his slightly-scuffed effort trundled into the net.
Hopkin made his second change, sending on Sheerin in place of White, and the big striker was straight into the action to win a corner which came to nothing. He then came close to making it 5-1 as he wandered through on goal and unleashed a powerful effort which Langfield did well to save with his feet. The Buddies then came close to a consolation when a combination of Glen and McCallum managed to scramble away a header from Andy Webster.
Then came an historic moment as Matthew Knox replaced Buchanan to become Livi’s youngest ever player and he came close to making it a dream debut when he curled in a 25 yard free kick which Langfield did well to save. In the end four was enough to send Livi up to eighth in the Championship.
Full-time: St Mirren 1-4 Livingston
St Mirren: Langfield, Kelly, Webster, McMullan, Carswell, Mallan, Agnew (Morgan 67), Watson, Gallagher (Thomson 75), Shankland, Reid
Subs not used: Wilks, Howieson, Baird, McLear, Cuddihy
Goals: Shankland (41)
Livingston: McCallum, Neill, Gordon, Gallagher, Longridge, Glen, Faria, Pittman, Mullen (Hippolyte 63), White (Sheerin 69), Buchanan (Knox 81)
Subs not used: Jamieson, Millen, Gibbons, Currie
Goals: Buchanan (23 & 66), Gordon (32), Glen (54)
Referee: Stephen Finnie
Match Report: Andy Crawford