Ten-man Livi slumped to the bottom of the Championship as newly-promoted Greenock Morton left West Lothian with all three points as a late Lions rally fell short.
Morton arrived in West Lothian on the back of their first win of the season against Alloa while Mark Burchill made three changes to his side from the 1-1 draw at St Mirren as Ross Millen, Danny Mullen and Gary Glen replaced Scott Pittman, Spas Georgiev and Craig Sives.
It was the League One champions who made the brighter start and created a decent chance on 20 minutes when Stefan McLuskey sent one time Livi cult hero Bobby Barr clean through but his left foot shot was saved by Darren Jamieson. Livi’s chances were then severely dented on 29 minutes when Ben Gordon was controversially sent off for a foul on Conor Pepper. While it was a late challenge, it was not overly violent or reckless and there was a real shock when ref Euan Anderson produced a straight red card.
Within two minutes, Morton made the extra man count as a mix-up between Jamieson and Declan Gallagher left McLuskey with a simple tap-in to make it 1-0 to the visitors. They were visibly lifted by the goal and a neat move ended with Ross Forbes curling a shot just over the bar. Livi tried to mount a comeback and Myles Hippolyte tried his luck from distance but his effort was straight at Grant Adam who saved comfortably. Buchanan then teed up Mullen for an effort which flew high and wide, ensuring that Morton’s lead remained intact as the teams headed for the dressing rooms at half-time.
Half-time: Livingston 0-1 Greenock Morton
Livi boss Burchill made an attacking change at half-time as Jordan White replaced Jackson Longridge but it was the visitors who threatened first as Barr crossed for Romario Sabajo but he shot wide. It proved only a brief let-off for the Lions though as Morton doubled their lead just three minutes later when Denny Johnstone slotted beyond Jamieson from close range.
The Lions weren’t offering much in attack as Morton looked increasingly comfortable, although White did have the ball in the net only to be denied by a linesman’s flag against Liam Buchanan. Morton made the most of that let-off to add to their lead on 66 minutes as Barr was played in and he slammed a shot beyond Jamieson to make it 3-0.
It should have been 4-0 on 77 minutes but Jamieson produced a brilliant reaction save to deny Sabajo before Livi made their final two changes, sending on Jordyn Sheerin and Hugo Faria to replace Mullen and Buchanan. The changes had little effect however as Morton continued to push forward at every opportunity and, after having two efforts cleared off the line in quick succession, they claimed a fourth goal as Jon Scullion stroked home a low effort on 85 minutes.
Livi at least showed some fighting spirit to mount a comeback of sorts as they pulled a goal back two minutes later when White bundled in a cross from the left to make it 4-1 before Sheerin fired in a left foot screamer on 90 minutes to reduce the deficit to two. Incredibly, there was still time for Hippolyte to fire an effort against the bar but, as it turned out, 4-2 was as close as the Lions would get as Morton headed back to Inverclyde with an impressive away win.
Full-time: Livingston 2-4 Greenock Morton
Next up for the Lions is a trip to Ibrox to face a seemingly-unstoppable Rangers this coming Saturday before a visit from Hibs to Almondvale on September 19.
Livingston: Jamieson, Millen, Longridge (White 46), Cole, Gordon, Mullen (Faria 79), Hippolyte, Gallagher, Buchanan (Sheerin 79), Gibbons, Glen
Subs not used: Gould, Sives, Neill, Georgiev
Goals: White (85), Sheerin (89)
Morton: Adam, Kilday, Lamie, O’Ware, Miller, Forbes (Tidser 67), Johnstone (Scullion 73), McCluskey, Pepper, Barr, Sabajo (Samuel 78)
Subs not used: Gaston, Orr, Stevenson
Goals: McCluskey (31), Johnstone (52), Barr (66), Scullion (82)
Referee: Euan Anderson
Match report: Andy Crawford