Livingston 0-0 Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Livi failed to score for the first time in eight months as they were held to a goalless draw by Inverness CT and missed the chance to go top of the Ladbrokes Championship.

In the clubs’ first league meeting in West Lothian since 2006, the Lions were grateful to keeper Neil Alexander for preserving their point as he made a fine point-blank save in each half to deny Jake Mulraney and Connor Bell what looked certain goals.

Boss David Hopkin made three changes to his side from the 3-2 win over Brechin the previous week as Nikolay Todorov, Jack McMillan and Raffaele De Vita dropped out to be replaced by Jackson Longridge, Keaghan Jacobs and Danny Mullen.

With the Lions not playing on remembrance weekend, an impeccably-observed minute’s silence preceded the action. Livi started brightly and had their first chance within 30 seconds as Josh Mullin ran at the Caley defence and fired in a low drive that was comfortably saved by Mark Ridgers.

Another chance came their way two minutes later, with Mullin this time the provider as his corner was met by Craig Halkett but he couldn’t get over the ball and sent his header high over the crossbar.

The visitors thought they had taken the lead on six minutes when Alan Lithgow carelessly gave away possession and John Baird’s cut back was stabbed home virtually on the goalline by Bell but the linesman’s flag was quickly up for offside. It may have been going in anyway so it was a needless intervention from Bell.

Livi’s next sight of goal came on 11 minutes as Scott Pittman was fouled 25 yards from goal and Mullen teed up Mullin but his effort flew well over the bar. The Lions had a half-hearted shout for a penalty on 15 minutes as Pittman went down in the box but it looked more like a case of the Livi man stumbling rather than a foul.

After ex-Livi man Coll Donaldson fouled Mullen on 18 minutes, Mullin’s free kick was met by Halkett but he was flagged offside. Donaldson went into the referee’s book a minute later for another foul on Mullen. Ridgers gathered James Penrice’s resulting free kick under pressure.

Caley Thistle then broke with Bell and Baird linking up before Declan Gallagher put the ball out for a corner that Halkett headed clear. Livi then forced a corner at the other end and, after Mullin’s cross had been cleared, Ridgers did well to gather Penrice’s return ball.

Then came Alexander’s first big moment as Mulraney was sent scampering through on goal but the Livi stopper was out smartly to close down the Caley man and divert his effort wide. Livi almost took advantage three minutes later as Mullen did well to win the ball in the air and it dropped for Longridge but his ferocious right-footed effort fizzed inches wide.

There was a moment of controversy soon after as Mullen evaded a couple of challenges before appearing to be barged over in the box but ref Gavin Duncan saw fit to caution the Livi man for diving before Caley’s Carl Tremarco followed suit for a foul on Mullen soon after as the teams went in at the break all-square.

Half-time: Livingston 0-0 Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Livi started the second half brightly and came close inside two minutes when Mullen tried his luck from 25 yards but saw his effort deflected wide before Caley did well to clear a Mullin free kick soon after. Brad McKay then went into the book for a late tackle on Pittman.

Caley made their first change on the hour as George Oakley replaced the ineffective Baird before Livi followed suit five minutes later when Nicky Cadden came on for Penrice. A further change for the visitors followed on 69 minutes as Riccy Calder replaced Tremarco before a half-chance saw Liam Polworth poke an effort at goal that Alexander saved comfortably.

Livi threatened again a minute later as Jacobs tried his luck from 25 yards with a powerful effort that Ridgers did well to hold on to. Longridge then picked up a yellow card for a foul on Mulraney. Mulraney then went on a mazy run that ended with him rolling an effort wide of target.

David Hopkin made his final two changes on 77 minutes as Todorov and Dylan Mackin came on for Mullin and Mullen before an extraordinary fall from Donaldson with Byrne somewhere nearby managed to draw a foul from ref Duncan.

Alexander came to the Lions’ rescue once more seven minutes from time with a superb point blank save as Bell found himself free in the box barely ten yards out but Alexander stretched out his right leg to turn his effort wide and prevent what looked a certain goal.

The final chance went Livi’s way four minutes from time as Todorov brought the ball down brilliantly but his volley on the turn flew high over the bar as the Lions were forced to settle for a first goalless draw since February.

Full-time: Livingston 0-0 Inverness Caledonian Thistle

Livingston: Alexander, Gallagher, Halkett, Lithgow, Mullin (Mackin 77), Byrne, Jacobs, Penrice (Cadden 65), Longridge, Pittman, Mullen (Todorov 77)
Subs not used: Maley, Knox, Carrick, De Vita

Inverness CT: Ridgers, Raven, Tremarco (Calder 69), Chalmers, Polworth, Baird (Oakley 60), Vigurs, Mulraney, Bell, McKay, Donaldson
Subs not used: Esson, Warren, Cooper, Trafford, MacKay

Referee: Gavin Duncan
Att: 1,262
Match Report: Andy Crawford
Photos: Rae Irvine

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