It was back to Premiership duty as the Lions welcomed Kilmarnock to West Lothian, hoping there would be no Semi-Final hangover after the high of Sunday’s triumph in booking their place in the Betfred Cup Final.
Manager Davie Martindale made four changes to the side that beat St Mirren at Hampden just four days prior. Jack Fitzwater and Ciaron Brown came in for Efe Ambrose and Julien Serrano at the back, Alan Forrest replaced Craig Sibbald in the midfield, and Sunday’s match-winner Scott Robinson dropped to the bench with Gavin Reilly starting his first match for the club.
The Lions started on the front foot, as they looked to make it twelve unbeaten. Gavin Reilly held the ball up well before releasing Alan Forrest through on goal. The former Ayr man was in behind his former rivals’ defence, but Danny Rogers got down well to tip his effort wide.
Livi nearly took the lead later in the half. Josh Mullin was on set-piece duty again as he whipped in a terrific corner to the back post. Jon Guthrie rose highest to meet, but his header came back off the crossbar and was hooked away.
Into the second half, and Killie looked to make the Lions pay for their earlier couple of missed chances. George Oakley’s initial pass was given straight back to him by Nicky Devlin, but his rebounded effort flew over the bar.
The Lions looked keen to try and get all three points, while Killie seemed content to hold what they had and play out for the draw. It was a fiery encounter, with tackles flying around – referee Steven Kirkland had the yellow card out five times.
After looking like it would be a share of the spoils, Livi took the lead with just one minute of normal time to play. After some lovely work on the right wing by Craig Sibbald, he cut the ball back into the box for Scott Robinson who fired into a dangerous area. The ball broke to substitute Jaze Kabia who took a touch and smashed past Rogers for his first goal for the club, putting the Lions 1-0 up at the death.
Then, in added time, Scott Pittman sealed the win with a second to mark his 250th appearance for the club in style. The Kilmarnock backline only half cleared a Livi long ball, with Brandon Haunstrup heading right into Pittman’s path. The midfielder knocked the ball away from his man and applied a trademark finish to seal the three points.
The all-important win extended manager Davie Martindale’s miraculous unbeaten run to twelve games, and made it Livi’s seventh league win in nine games. A truly unbelievable feat.
Livingston: Stryjek, Devlin ▊, Fitzwater, Guthrie, Brown, Bartley ▊ (⇔ Sibbald 67), Holt, Forrest (⇔ Kabia 76), Pittman, Mullin (⇔ Robinson 60), Reilly (⇔ Emmanuel-Thomas 59)
Subs not used: McCrorie, McMillan, Longridge, Serrano, Lawson
Goals: Kabia (89), Pittman (90)
Kilmarnock: Rogers, McGowan, Rossi, Findlay (⇔ Millen 45), Haunstrup ▊, Burke (⇔ Dabo 75), Power ▊, Tshibola, Pinnock, McKenzie ▊, Oakley
Subs not used: Kabamba, Whitehall, Doyle, Brindley, Taylor
Referee: Steven Kirkland
Match Report: Calum Brown