Livi ended a run of three consecutive defeats with a goalless draw against Hamilton at a freezing Tony Macaroni Arena.
The Lions had by far the better chances against a very defensive Accies side, Jon Guthrie going closest with a first half header that came back off the post before being clawed off the line by Luke Southwood.
Gary Holt made one change to his side from the 4-0 defeat to Celtic as Keaghan Jacobs came in at right-back for Jack McMillan and the Lions were quickly on the front foot, going close inside the opening minute when Steve Lawson burst down the right and found Stevie Lawless with a terrific cross but the ex-Partick man’s effort was well blocked by the Accies defence.
The visitors had their first chance on four minutes as George Oakley won a corner before getting on the end of Johnny Hunt’s delivery but he could send his header high over the roof of the south stand. Guthrie then got on the end of Lawson’s corner at the other end but was penalised for a foul.
Livi were doing most of the pressing and, after both Lyndon Dykes and Robbie Crawford did well to win high balls, the ball broke to Lawless and he cut inside before curling an effort wide. There was then a bit of a scramble in the Accies box on 13 minutes as Pittman and Lawless (twice) saw efforts blocked by the visiting defence after Dykes had taken advantage of Sam Stubbs’ slip to get in down the left. Crawford then saw an effort blocked two minutes later after Jacobs’ corner had been palmed away by Southwood.
The Lions thought they’d taken the lead on 16 minutes when Lawson’s free kick from the left was met by Guthrie and his header hit the post before being clawed away by Southwood. The Livi players were convinced the ball had crossed the line but the flag stayed down and no goal was given. Dykes then did well to win a free kick 25 yards out seven minutes later and Jacobs stepped to curl his effort a yard wide of Southwood’s right-hand post.
The match descended into a midfield battle for much of the remainder of the half with Livi continuing to look the more threatening. They were unlucky not to go in front five minutes before the break as, after Marvin Bartley was bundled over in the box as he looked to reach Lawless’ cross, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair’s curling effort cannoned off his stricken skipper which allowed Accies to clear and keep the scores level at the break.
Half-time: Livingston 0-0 Hamilton Academical
Bartley had tried to play on after picking up that knock but it was to no avail and he was replaced by Jack McMillan at the interval, McMillan coming on at full-back with Jacobs moving into his more familiar midfield role having performed commendably on the right of the Livi defence.
Livi continued to do much of the pressing and went close again on 52 minutes when Ricki Lamie and Taylor-Sinclair linked up well down the left and found Pittman who, in turn, teed up Crawford to fire in a low effort that was well saved by Southwood. Livi then forced a series of corners and had half-hearted appeals for a penalty waved away as they stepped to their search for an opener.
The Lions made their second change on the hour mark as Scott Robinson came on for Crawford before David Moyo replaced Marius Ogkmpoe for the visitors soon after. Livi then made their final switch on 67 minutes as Chris Erskine came on for Lawson.
There was a strange moment with 20 minutes remaining as the ball was cleared for a throw in and landed in the Hamilton dugout, with the Accies bench summing up their determination to play for a draw by refusing to return the ball to allow the game to resume.
There was a strange moment with 20 minutes remaining as the ball was cleared for a throw in and landed in the Hamilton dugout, with the Accies bench summing up their determination to play for a draw by refusing to return the ball to allow the game to resume. Jacobs then did well five minutes later to slide the ball in behind for Dykes but no one could get on the end of his low ball across the box.
Brian Easton picked up a yellow card for hauling down Robinson to stop a Livi counter attack before another big chance went to waste five minutes later as a free kick was headed back across goal but Dykes couldn’t quite reach the ball on the stretch and the chance was lost.
The Lions went close again nine minutes from time when Robinson did well to chase and win the ball on the left and switched the ball to Lawless who sent his low effort straight at Southwood. Accies then made their second change four minutes later as Scott Martin came on for George Oakley. Livi continued to push for a late winner but were unable to find a way through the packed Accies defence and had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Full-time: Livingston 0-0 Hamilton Academical
Livingston: Sarkic, Jacobs, Lamie, Guthrie, Taylor-Sinclair, Bartley (McMillan 45), Crawford (Robinson 60), Lawson (Erskine 68), Pitman, Lawless, Dykes
Subs not used: Stewart, Sibbald, Odofin, Souda
Hamilton Academical: Southwood, Hunt, Easton, Stubbs, McGowan, Miller, Gogic, Smith, McMann, Oakley (Martin 86), Ogboe (Moya 64)
Subs not used: Williams, Collar, Cunningham, Want, Hamilton
Referee: Willie Collum
Match Report: Andy Crawford
Photo Gallery: Rae Irvine