Livi got themselves off the mark in the Ladbrokes Premiership as they held Kilmarnock to a goalless draw at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
In a match that would be described as a “good 0-0”, the Lions produced a strong defensive performance to keep last season’s fifth-placed side at bay.
Livi boss Kenny Miller made one change from the 3-1 defeat to Celtic as Steven Lawless came in for his full debut in place of James Brown. The match burst into life inside the opening 20 seconds as Killie defender Kirk Broadfoot picked up a yellow card after barging into Lee Miller face on.
The first chance of the game went Livi’s way on four minutes as Egli Kaja floated a free kick to the back post for Declan Gallagher to head down for Lawless, who nrought a fine save out of Jamie McDonald but was flagged offside. Lawless went close again six minutes later as Kaja burst forward and squared the ball for the ex-Partick Thistle man, who saw his low drive tipped wide by McDonald for a corner.
Former Livi defender Scott Boyd was next into the referee’s book on 12 minutes after hauling down Kaja as he looked to burst down the wing. Craig Halkett got on the end of the resulting free kick from Kaja but could only steer his diving header wide. Kaja then picked up Livi’s first booking on 17 minutes for a trip in Jordan Jones.
Livi went close again on 22 minutes when McDonald fluffed his kick when out of his goal and Lawless tried his luck with an audacious volley from 35 yards but he didn’t get a good connection and the ball flew harmlessly wide. Two minutes later, Steven Saunders’ long ball was headed down by Lee Miller but Scott Robinson couldn’t beat McDonald to the ball.
The visitors came within a whisker of breaking the deadlock on 29 minutes when Jones broke down the left and crossed for Chris Burke, who slid an effort against the post. Three minutes later, it was the Lions who came close once again as Lee Miller knocked the ball down for Kenny Miller and he released Robinson but his attempted chip didn’t have enough height and McDonald was able to gather.
Livi went close again on 34 minutes when a deft touch from Lawless released Scott Pittman who shaped to shoot but squared for Kaja who saw his low effort saved by McDonald as the sides went in at the break level.
Half-time: Livingston 0-0 Kilmarnock
The second half was slow to start, though Kaja was left furious as he was penalised for a shirt pull on 51 minutes despite his own shirt being pulled to such an extent as to rip down the front.
Both sides made their first changes on 64 minutes, Livi sending Nicky Cadden on for Kaja while the visitors replaced Mikael Ndjoli with Iain Wilson. The Killie sub almost made a telling contribution seven minutes later as Burke raced clear and slipped in Wilson but Liam Kelly produced a fine diving save to deny Steve Clarke’s side the opener.
Killie’s second change came on 72 minutes as Eamonn Brophy came on for Kris Boyd, a decision the visiting captain didn’t take too well, before Livi made their second switch three minutes later. It was to be an historic moment too as Keaghan Jacobs became the first player ever to feature for the Lions in all four divisions of the SPFL as he came on for Robinson.
There was a half-chance for Livi on 78 minutes as Lee Miller and Saunders both tried to get on the end of a long throw from Gallagher but neither could get a telling touch and McDonald was able to gather. That proved to be Miller’s last act as he went off to be replaced by Jack Hamilton.
Killie went close again on 83 minutes as Wilson tried his luck from 25 yards but sent his effort over the bar. Greg Kiltie then came on for Burke in Killie’s final change as the match petered out a draw that both teams were probably happy with.
Full-time: Livingston 0-0 Kilmarnock
Livingston: Kelly, Saunders, Lawless, Halkett, Gallagher, Byrne, Pittman, Robinson (Jacobs 75), Kaja (Cadden 65), K.Miller, L.Miller (Hamilton 81)
Subs not used: Stewart, Lithgow, Lamie, Brown
Kilmarnock: MacDonald, O’Donnell, Broadfoot, S.Boyd, Taylor, Burke (Kiltie 84), Dicker, Power, Jones, K.Boyd (Brophy 71), Ndjoli (Wilson 65)
Subs not Used: Bachmann, Higgins, Waters, Thomas
Referee: Gavin Duncan
Match Report: Andy Crawford
Photos: Rae Ivine