Livi battled back to secure a well-deserved point against European hopefuls Aberdeen and move up to eighth in the Ladbrokes Premiership at a bitterly cold Pittodrie.
Craig Sibbald scored for the second week running to cancel out Niall McGinn’s opener and ensure that the Lions have now taken points off of every team in the top flight this season.
Unsurprisingly, Livi boss Gary Holt went with the same starting line-up and substitutes bench from the win over St Johnstone but it was the home side who started the brighter, going close inside four minutes when McGinn slipped in Graeme Shinnie but his low show was parried away by Liam Kelly. Up the other end, Scott Pittman headed Ciaron Brown’s cross just wide, although the offside flag was up in any case.
The conditions were dominating proceedings with a fierce wind blowing in from the North Sea and it prevented either side from threatening to any extent and it was almost 20 minutes before anything else happened. It was a key moment, though, as the Dons broke the deadlock on the half hour when Connor McLennan’s cross was brilliantly volleyed home by McGinn at the far post.
The home side almost doubled their lead six minutes later when Sam Cosgrove showed good feet to play in McLennan but he could only fire a powerful effort straight at Kelly from 15 yards. Livi came close to equalising on 38 minutes when Alan Lithgow’s long throw fell to Declan Gallagher and his first-time effort was pushed away for a corner by Joe Lewis. Cosgrove then volleyed Max Lowe’s cross just wide moments later.
The Lions were finishing the half well and they were to be rewarded two minutes from the interval when Keaghan Jacobs’ free kick was flicked on by Chris Erskine and, when Craig Halkett drilled a low ball across goal, Sibbald was on hand to steer the ball home and send the teams in level at the break.
Half-time: Aberdeen 1-1 Livingston
Livi thought they’d made a dream start to the second half when Gallagher headed Jacobs’ free kick across goal and in two minutes after the restart but the linesman’s flag was up to rule it out for offside. They continued to press in the early stages, forcing a corner that was cleared as far as Erskine who fired his effort a yard or so wide.
Dons boss Derek McInnes made his first change on 57 minutes to try and change the course of the match, sending on Dean Campbell for the ineffective Stevie May. Lewis Ferguson then went close seven minutes later when he latched on to Dominic Ball’s long throw but fired high over the bar.
Livi made two changes in the space of six minutes, Erskine replaced by Hakeem Odoffin before Steve Lawson was forced off with a knee injury. Shaun Byrne came on in his place. Substitutions were about all that happened during the middle part of the half, Greg Stewart coming on for McGinn for the home side before Ryan Hardie replaced Scott Robinson for the Lions.
James Wilson replaced Ferguson three minutes from time in the Dons’ last throw of the dice before Stewart saw an effort deflected behind by Sibbald for a corner. Livi defended the corner comfortably to ensure there was no repeat of the late heartache they suffered on their last trip to the Granite City as the Lions claimed an excellent away point.
Full-time: Aberdeen 1-1 Livingston
Aberdeen: Lewis, Shinnie, McKenna, McGinn (Stewart 76), Cosgrove, May (Campbell 57), Devlin, Ferguson (Wilson 88), Ball, McLennan, Lowe
Subs not used: Cerny, Gleeson, Halford, Ross
Goals: McGinn (30)
Livingston: Kelly, Gallagher, Halkett, Lithgow, Brown, Lawson (Byrne 71), Pittman, Sibbald, Jacobs, Robinson (Hardie 83), Erskine (Odoffin 65)
Subs not used: Stewart, De Vita, Lawless, Tiffoney
Goals: Sibbald (43)
Referee: Don Robertson
Match Report: Andy Crawford
Photos: Rae Irvine