The Lions are off to Hampden!
Early first-half goals from Craig Sibbald and Alan Forrest sealed a fine 2-0 win against Ross County at the Tony Macaroni Arena to book a first, national cup semi-final appearance since 2006.
The Lions made one change to the starting line-up from the victory over St Johnstone the weekend previous with Scott Robinson replacing Matej Poplatnik upfront. The visitors made three changes from the side which went down 2-0 to Aberdeen at Pittodrie in the game previous with Michael Gardyne, Billy Mckay and Josh Reid drafted in for Jordan Tillson, Coll Donaldson and the injured Connor Randall.
It was former Staggies winger Josh Mullin who was first to threaten for the Lions, with his free-kick comfortably held by Ross Laidlaw inside the opening 60 seconds.
The Lions went ahead after just three minutes – with confusion surrounding the goal. Linesman Andrew McWilliam had initially flagged for offside against Scott Robinson who played in Sibbald to tuck low past Laidlaw, however referee Steven McLean correctly overruled him on the basis the ball broke for the forward off Regan Charles-Cook.
County striker Ross Stewart came close to levelling with a flick from Iain Vigurs’ corner, with the Staggies suffering another blow on 21 minutes when Charles-Cook went off with a hamstring injury to be replaced by former Lion Coll Donaldson.
Livi doubled the lead in bizarre circumstances on 24 minutes, with Morris’ attempted clearance ricocheting off Robinson and looping to the back post to tee up Forrest for the simple task of heading home at the far post from a yard.
County looked for a way back into the game, with Stewart denied by a fantastic Max Stryjek save after being played through on goal by Harry Paton.
Ross County appealed for a red card to be shown to Jon Guthrie when the defender appeared to trip Mckay on the edge of the box when he was through on goal but the referee only showed a yellow. Vigurs came close with the resulting free-kick, which went inches over the bar.
County looked for a penalty five minutes before the break, with Paton appearing to be caught by Scott Pittman as he looked to get a shot away. It would have been an incredibly soft award with Pittman looking furious at the attempt to sway the referee by Paton.
County needed Laidlaw to make a fine save to thwart Mullin’s cross, with County having the final chance of the first half when Mckay went through on goal but saw his low strike held by Stryjek.
Livi were close to adding a third shortly after the break, with Jack Fitzwater heading Mullin’s corner inches past the post, before Robinson rattled the crossbar after the Staggies had failed to clear their lines from a free-kick.
The Lions almost wrapped the game up with a third goal when Pittman sent Julien Serrano free on the left and he drilled an excellent shot beyond Laidlaw but the ball cracked the post and rolled along the line before County cleared.
A fantastic victory for Livingston, with a semi-final clash against St Mirren now set for Sunday 24th January. Get that in your diaries!
Livingston: Stryjek, Devlin, Fitzwater, Guthrie ▊, Serrano, Bartley, Sibbald ▊, Mullin (⇔ Holt 62), Pittman, Forrest (⇔ Brown 45 ▊), Robinson (⇔ Poplatnik 76)
Subs not used: McCrorie, Emmanuel-Thomas, McMillan, Ambrose, Taylor-Sinclair, Lawson
Goals: Sibbald (4), Forrest (24)
Ross County: Laidlaw, Morris, Gardyne ▊, Mckay, Vigurs ▊, Iacovetti, Charles-Cook (⇔ Donaldson 23), Kelly (⇔ Draper 61), Paton (⇔ Shaw 82), Stewart, Reid
Subs not used: Tremarco, Hylton, Watson, Doohan, Tillson, Wright
Referee: Steven McLean
Match Report: Dave Black