Livingston 1-0 St Mirren

It was back to full strength for Livi after being held to a point by the champions midweek as Davie Martindale hoped to mastermind his side to the club’s first major cup final since 2004.

The Lions started strongly and on the front foot. A long ball from max Stryjek was cleared only as far as Jon Guthrie who tried a shot from the edge of the box, but it was comfortable for Jack Alnwick in the St Mirren goal.

Josh Mullin then had a shot on his weaker left foot from a similar position, but again it was a routine catch by Alnwick.

On nine minutes though, the deadlock was broken. Livi won a free-kick deep about ten yards over the halfway line on the left of the pitch. There would only be one taker, as Josh Mullin stepped over the ball. He delivered a delightful ball into the box, which was flicked on by Scott Robinson. Efe Ambrose met the flick on at the back post, but his header smacked off the crossbar, only to fall for Robinson who headed home to open the scoring.

St Mirren had a couple of half chances to level before the break. Eamonn Brophy’s ambitious effort was dragged wide before Dylan Connolly’s dangerous cross was scrambled away by a resolute Livingston defence.

It was backs to the wall for the majority of the second half for the Lions, content with their 1-0 lead. It invited a lot of pressure from the Saints, but also allowed opportunities to break forward on the counter attack.

Livi created the first real chance of the second half through one of these counters. A combination of Pittman, Robinson and Mullin broke forward down the left-hand side before the latter picked out Nicky Devlin in space just coming into the box. The full back met Mullin’s delivery on the half volley, but the strike flew over.

Jim Goodwin’s side were starting to have a lot of the ball, and looked very dangerous from set pieces. A Jamie McGrath corner was met by Conor McCarthy, but the Irishman’s header was cleared off the line by Craig Sibbald.

St Mirren thought they had a penalty with around 15 minutes to play after substitute Jon Obika went down in the box. The striker did fantastically well to beat Julien Serrano on the right wing, and went to ground in the area under the challenge of the Frenchman, but referee David Munro booked the St Mirren man for simulation after a clear dive.

The Saint were really going for it now, and throwing everyone forward. Jon Obika probably should’ve done better with a close-range header that was straight down the throat of Max Stryjek, before Kristian Dennis had a powerful strike from the edge of the box held by the Polish goalkeeper.

With almost everyone in the Livingston box at the death, the last chance of the game fell to St Mirren skipper Joe Shaugnessy. Jamie McGrath whipped in another teasing corner, and it was met with the head of the defender, but it just went wide to the relief of the Livi defence.

The players rejoiced as the full-time whistle sounded. The Lions were into only their second ever major cup final, and their first since 2004. Scott Robinson was the hero for the goal, but the whole team deserve massive credit for a truly valiant defensive display and hard-fought victory for Livi, who will face St Johnstone in the final.

Livingston: Stryjek, Devlin, Ambrose, Guthrie, Serrano, Bartley, Holt , Sibbald (Longridge 86), Pittman , Mullin (Reilly 73), Robinson (Fitzwater 81)
Subs not used: McCrorie, McMillan, Lawson, Forrest, Kabia, Emmanuel-Thomas
Goals: Robinson (10)

St Mirren: Alnwick, Tait, McCarthy, MacPherson (Obika 68), Mason (Durmus 68), McGrath, Shaughnessy, Connolly (McAllister 57), Erhahon, Fraser, Brophy (Dennis 81)
Subs not used: Finlayson, Flynn, Foley, Erwin, Lyness

Referee: David Munro
HT: 1-0
Att: BCD
Match Report: Calum Brown

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