Dundee United progressed to the last 8 of the Premier Sports Cup after goals from Steven Fletcher and Ian Harkes sealed victory in West Lothian.
Interim Head Coach Liam Fox made four changes to the side bringing in Charlie Mulgrew, Aziz Behich, Jamie McGrath and Tony Watt.
It was a bright start by the Terrors, epitomised by our determination to win second and loose balls all over the pitch.
Steven Fletcher and Watt linked up well in the opening minutes with several combinations in the host’s half but were kept at bay by a resolute Livingston backline.
Liam Smith was also keenly involved in a lot of United’s attacks, with some dangerous crosses that just evaded the United front line.
13 minutes in, more nice link-up from United resulted in a corner. Jamie McGrath’s out-swinger to the back post was met firmly by the head of Ryan Edwards.
A smart save from Shamal George denied our skipper but Fletcher was on hand to bury the ball from inside the six-yard box, giving the Terrors a well-deserved lead.
Then 20 minutes later we doubled our advantage. Fletcher was involved again, holding the ball up well under pressure before playing Ian Harkes in with a cushioned ball over the top.
George hesitated in coming out, allowing our American midfielder to look up and cooly send the ball over the onrushing Livingston keeper and into the back of the net.
It was a half in which United were good value for their two-goal lead, and arguably could have gone in at the break with a bigger advantage.
The early stages of the second period failed to bring any clear-cut chances.
United’s only real opportunity of the half came as McGrath latched onto a loose ball and fired an effort at goal which was deflected wide for a corner.
Changes on the 68th and 73rd minutes saw Craig Sibbald and Glenn Middleton replace Dylan Levitt and Tony Watt – both earning their rest after a battling performance.
There was a debut for Sadat Anaku, who replaced Fletcher after an excellent 85 minutes. The Ugandan striker looked lively when coming on, winning a few fouls and latching onto second balls.
Livingston were more of a threat in the second half and pulled one back with less than 15 minutes to go. Cristian Montano’s header at the back post looked to be heading into the far corner but it was Kurtis Guthrie’s touch that sent the ball into the net.
Livingston looked to take the game to extra-time In the final minute of the 90, with Kelly’s free-kick striking the outside of the post.
But United held firm and saw out the final five additional minutes to clinch a last eight trip to Kilmarnock.
Match Report: Dundee United FC
Livingston: George, Devlin©️, Obileye ▊, Kelly, Montaño ▊, Omeonga (Bahamboula 66), Holt, Shinnie, Pittman, Gonçalves (Guthrie 60), Nouble
Subs not used: Hamilton, Longridge, Brandon, Boyes, Bitsindou, Cancar, Penrice
Goals: Guthrie (77)
Dundee Utd: Eriksson, Mulgrew, Edwards©️, Graham, Smith, McGrath ▊, Levitt ▊ (Sibbald 68), Harkes, Behich, Watt (Middleton 73), Fletcher
Subs not used: McMann, Niskanen, Meekison, Anaku, Freeman, Cudjoe, Newman
Goals: Fletcher (15), Harkes (34)
Referee: David Munro