A late penalty condemned Livi to a fourth-straight defeat in a largely-forgettable encounter at the Fountain of Youth Stadium.
Returning captain Alan Lithgow had given the Lions a deserved first half lead but, after Blair Alston had brought Accies level on the stroke of half-time, Ross Cunningham’s late spot kick proved decisive.
Gary Holt made four changes to his starting line-up after the energy-sapping defeat to Rangers in the Betfred Cup as Lithgow, Jack Stobbs and Scott Robinson came in for Jack McMillan, Keaghan Jacobs and the injured Lyndon Dykes. Ross Stewart also returned between the sticks in place of Matija Sarkic.
The home side were quickly on the attack and forced an opening inside the first minute but Alston’s shot was well off target. Livi then forced a corner at the other end but Stobbs’ cross was comfortably cleared by the Accies defence.
The Lions continued to press and were rewarded on 14 minutes when Aymen Souda’s free kick from the right was met by Lithgow and he powered his header past Owain Fon Williams from close range. Accies’ Steve Davies then gave us his best Tom Daley impression as he tumbled to the ground with Nicky Devlin just about in close proximity. Referee Steven McLean rightly waved away his appeals with the former Derby man perhaps lucky to escape without a yellow card.
The home side started to apply some pressure and won a corner on 28 minutes but Alston’s cross failed to beat the first man and Robinson was able to clear. Devlin then required a bit of treatment but was fine to continue and was then immediately clattered on the right touchline, giving the Lions a free kick.
Souda showed quick feet on 38 minutes to burst down the left before driving across goal but his shot was tame and Fon Williams saved comfortably. Souda then took a free kick short to Stevie Lawless but his low ball across goal was cleared by the home defence.
The Lions had looked comfortable but were stunned on the stroke of half-time when Accies drew level as the ball fell to Alston and he was able to prod home from close range and send the teams in at the break on level terms.
Half-time: Hamilton Academical 1-1 Livingston
Robinson picked up a yellow card shortly after the restart after he was harshly adjudged to have fouled Brian Easton as the two players challenged for a high ball. Stobbs then came close to fortuitously restoring the Lions’ lead on 49 minutes when his cross from the right looped over Fon Williams and dropped inches the wrong side of the bar.
Livi were well on top in the early stages of the second half and went close again on 51 minutes when Marvin Bartley gathered a poor clearance at the edge of the box and tried his luck but his effort flew high over the bar. Gary Holt then made his first change six minutes later as Scott Tiffoney came on for Stobbs.
Tiffoney was quickly involved and, after Souda’s corner was cleared, Robbie Crawford returned the ball to Souda and his cross was met by the substitute but he sent his near-post header just over. Souda was then replaced by Craig Sibbald five minutes later before Cunningham came on for Lewis Smith for the hosts soon after.
The Lions were fortunate to still be on level terms on 74 minutes when a quick counter attack saw Mickel Miller clean through on Stewart but he sent his effort high over the bar and out of the ground from inside the box. At the other end, Sibbald found Jon Guthrie with a free kick four minutes later but he headed wide of target at the near post.
Steve Lawson replaced Robinson for the Lions ten minutes from time but it was the home side who were in the ascendancy and Sam Stubbs should have done better when he got on the end of a corner but couldn’t only head over the crossbar from close range.
Accies were gifted the chance to take the lead on 84 minutes when Stewart barged into Marius Ogkmpoe in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Cunningham stepped up to fire the spot kick down the middle and into the net.
Livi pressed in search of an equaliser and Lithgow’s long throw two minutes from time fell to Sibbald at the edge of the box but he could fire over the bar as Accies held on for the points.
Full-time: Hamilton Academical 2-1 Livingston
Hamilton: Williams, McGowan, McMann, Davies (Miller 62), Alston, Gogic, Hughes, Easton, Stubbs, Smith (Cunningham 69), Ogkmpoe (Moyo 87)
Subs Not Used: Southwood, Fjortoft, MacKinnon, Martin
Goals: Alston (45), Cunningham (84 pen)
Livingston: Stewart, Devlin, Lithgow, Guthrie, Lamie, Bartley, Crawford, Lawless, Stobbs (Tiffoney 58), Souda (Sibbald 67), Robinson (Lawson 81)
Subs Not Used: Sarkic, Pepe, McMillan, Jacobs
Goals: Lithgow (15)
Referee: Steven McLean
Match Report: Andy Crawford
Photos: Rae Irvine