Livi made it back-to-back home wins as they came from behind to deservedly claim all three points at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
After Craig Halkett had cancelled out Joe Shaughnessy’s opener for Saints before the break, Craig Sibbald put the Lions ahead seconds after the restart before Scott Pittman sealed the Lions’ first win over the Perth side since 2009 in injury time.
Gary Holt made one change to his Livi side from the late defeat at St Mirren, Scott Robinson coming in for Stevie Lawless. Shaun Byrne also returned to the squad after his two-match suspension but had to settle for a place on the substitutes’ bench.
The Lions made a bright start and almost opened the scoring in spectacular style inside two minutes when Steve Lawson showed great feet to find space before unleashing a fierce drive from 25 yards that was brilliantly tipped on to the post by Cammy Bell. Chris Erskine then saw a low effort deflected through to Bell ten minutes later.
After such a bright start, Livi were stunned when the visitors took the lead as a Sean Goss corner from the right wasn’t dealt with by the Lions defence and the ball broke to Shaughnessy who poked a low finish past Liam Kelly from eight yards.
Livi continued to do most of the pressing and had a half-chance to equalise on 21 minutes when Chris Erskine did well to win possession from Scott Tanser and find Robinson. He teed up Lawson who could only fire high over the bar from the edge of the box.
The visitors were almost gifted a second goal on 27 minutes when a lack of communication saw Alan Lithgow flick Goss’ free kick over the onrushing Kelly but the ball cannoned back off the post before Declan Gallagher was able to clear. Goss then had a go from distance five minutes later but his effort flew wide.
Livi were to make the most of that earlier reprieve as they drew level on 38 minutes when Lithgow’s throw-in was returned to him by Lawson and he whipped in a superb cross for Halkett to nod into the unguarded net after Bell had raced out to try and gather. Livi finished the half strongly but the teams would go in level at the break.
Half-time: Livingston 3-1 St Johnstone
The Lions made the ideal start to the second half as they took the lead within 40 seconds of the restart when Gallagher played in Robinson down the right and his cross was perfect for Sibbald to head home at the far post.
Sibbald almost made it three two minutes later when the ball broke to him after a goalmouth scramble but he could only fire over the bar. The former Falkirk man then picked up a yellow card for a trip on Jason Kerr on 62 minutes before Goss followed suit shortly after for a foul on Sibbald.
The on-loan QPR man almost brought Saints level on 65 minutes when his free kick took a wicked deflection off the Livi wall, totally wrong-footing Kelly, but dropped inches wide of the post. The resulting corner was cleared before Livi made their first change a minute later, Byrne returning to action in place of Sibbald.
Livi were forced into a second change just three minutes later as Ciaron Brown suffered what looked like a hamstring injury, Hakeem Odoffin coming on to replace the on-loan Cardiff defender. Tony Watt replaced Goss for the visitors moments later as they pushed for an equaliser.
The flurry of changes continued on 72 minutes with Ryan Hardie replacing Erskine for the Lions while Michael O’Halloran came on for Matty Kennedy for the visitors. Richard Foster then tried his luck from distance for Saints but his effort flew harmlessly wide.
Blair Alston replaced Murray Davidson for Saints with 13 minutes to play but it was Livi who went close again five minutes as Lithgow and Halkett almost repeated their trick from the first half but this time the Lions captain could only send his header across goal and wide.
That was a big chance missed for the hosts but fortunately it wasn’t to prove costly as they wrapped up the points in the 92nd minute when Lawson did well to chase down a loose ball and square for Pittman to fire high into the net from six yards and seal a ninth home win of the season for the Lions.
Full-time: Livingston 3-1 St Johnstone
Livingston: Kelly, Gallagher, Halkett, Lithgow, Brown (Odoffin 70), Lawson (Byrne 67), Pittman, Sibbald, Jacobs, Robinson, Erskine (Hardie 73)
Subs not used: Stewart, De Vita, Lawless, Tiffoney
Goals: Halkett (38), Sibbald (46), Pittman (90)
St Johnstone: Bell, Foster, Tanser, Shaughnessy, Kerr, Kennedy (O’Halloran 73), Wotherspoon, Goss (Watt 70), Davidson (Alston 78), Swanson, Kane
Subs not used: Sinclair, Craig, Callachan, Gordon
Goals: Shaughnessy (14)
Referee: John Beaton
Match Report: Andy Crawford
Photos: Rae Irvine