Ten-man Livi held on for a well-earned point against rock-bottom Dundee as they secured a goalless draw in a lively encounter at the Kilmac Stadium.
Both sides saw efforts crash back off the crossbar as, despite several openings, neither goalkeeper was severely tested before Lions sub Jack Hamilton was controversially shown a straight red card ten minutes from time.
Livi made one change from the 1-1 draw at Easter Road as Nicky Cadden came in for the injured Scott Robinson and the former Airdrie man made a lively start, bursting away from his man before teeing up Ryan Hardie to fire wide of target. Hardie then had an early penalty appeal waved away after almost having his shirt ripped off his back before Andy Boyle picked up a yellow for successfully ripping Dolly Menga’s shirt off.
The home side almost grabbed a fortuitous lead on 15 minutes when a corner dropped to Keaghan Jacobs and his attempted clearance cannoned off Menga and just over his own bar before Nathan Ralph came even closer a minute later with a 30-yard screamer that cracked off the crossbar on its way over.
The Lions went close on 17 minutes when Keaghan Jacobs’ free kick evaded everyone and almost bounced straight in but for a smart diving save from Jack Hamilton. Craig Halkett then fired wildly over the bar after the resulting corner had been cleared to him 25 yards out. The Livi captain then came within millimetres of getting on the end of Declan Gallagher’s header across goal after Scott Pittman had found the former Dee at the back post.
Paul McGowan picked up a yellow card on 28 minutes for a late challenge on Pittman before Benjamin Kallman went close five minutes later with a low drive from a tight angle that trickled wife of the post. Up the other end, Cadden’s corner was cleared as far as Stevie Lawless but he snatched at his effort and sent it wide. Livi ended the half well without testing Hamilton as the sides went in level at the interval.
Half-time: Dundee 0-0 Livingston
The Lions made a change at the interval as Craig Sibbald came on for Jacobs and they made a storming start to the second half, Menga firing wide from distance in the opening few seconds. Kenny Miller then had a couple of chances in quick succession for the home side. First he got in behind to latch on to a long ball over the top on 51 minutes but Liam Kelly was out smartly to gather and then, two minutes later, he fired in a low strike from 20 yards that Kelly did well to hold. Kallman then saw an effort from similar range comfortably saved by Kelly.
Livi countered from that Kallman chance and Pittman drove forward 30 yards before firing a low strike straight at Hamilton before a long throw from Alan Lithgow was headed across goal by Gallagher but no one could get on the end of it. Cadden’s corner had a similar outcome as the ball just wouldn’t drop for the Lions in the home side’s box.
Livi made their second change on 67 minutes when Hamilton came on for Hardie before Lee Miller replaced Menga, who had been on the receiving end of several fouls throughout the match, nine minutes later.
Dundee were in far greater need of the points so it was little surprise that they were doing most of the pressing as the game moved into its latter stages but the Lions’ defence was, as ever, standing strong. Indeed it was Livi who went close twice in the space of a couple minutes with Lawless the source of both opportunities. He did well to win possession 25 yards out on 78 minutes but could only fire wide before coming even closer two minutes later, firing in a swerving effort that didn’t quite dip enough as it clipped the top of the crossbar on its way over.
Then came the controversy as Hamilton tussled with Darren O’Dea and was adjudged to have made contact with the Dundee player’s face, though TV pictures clearly proved otherwise. Unfortunately for the Livi youngster, the veteran’s theatrics did the job and ref Bobby Madden produced a red card.
Sensing a chance of a rare victory, the home side swarmed forward at will in the remaining minutes and Alan Lithgow produced two superb blocks to thwart an attack from the home side in the 85th minute. Gallagher, Lithgow and Pittman then made crucial interceptions to keep the Dark Blues at bay and ensure the Lions headed home from Tayside with a deserved point.
Full-time: Dundee 0-0 Livingston
Dundee: Hamilton, Kerr, Ralph, Kamara, O’Dea, C.Miller (Nabi 71), McGowan, Kallman, K.Miller, Boyle, Curran
Subs not used: Parish, Inniss, Spence, Moore, Lambert
Livingston: Kelly, Gallagher, Halkett, Lithgow, Cadden, Lawless, Byrne, Jacobs (Sibbald 45), Pittman, Menga (Miller 77), Hardie (Hamilton 67)
Subs not used: Stewart, Saunders, McMillan, Lawson
Referee: Bobby Madden
Match Report: Andy Crawford
Photos: Rae Irvine