Livi breezed into the last-16 of the Betfred Cup for the third year in a row with an emphatic victory over Berwick Rangers at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
Doubles from Ricki Lamie and Craig Sibbald, either side of a first goal of the season for captain Alan Lithgow, secured the Lions a place as one of the four seeded group winners in the second round draw.
Gary Holt made four changes to his side from the scrappy 2-1 victory at Stranraer on Tuesday night as Sibbald, Matija Sarkic, Cece Pepe and Robbie Crawford came in for Ross Stewart, Jack McMillan, Keaghan Jacobs and Stevie Lawless.
The Lions knew a handsome victory would see them seeded and they got off to the perfect start as they broke the deadlock after just 93 seconds. Nicky Devlin cut in from the right and drove across the edge of the box before slipping the ball through to Lamie who steered a first-time finish past Sean Brennan with the outside of his left foot.
Devlin was the provider for Livi’s next opportunity in nine minutes as he was played in down the right by Scott Pittman and his low cross was flicked goalwards by Lyndon Dykes who saw his effort blocked at the near post. Dykes then teed up Aymen Souda for an effort that was well saved by Brennan four minutes later.
A second Livi goal was inevitable and it arrived on 15 minutes when Lamie’s deep cross was brilliantly kept in play by Devlin and he crossed for Sibbald to sidefoot past Brennan from close range. Dykes then headed Lamie’s cross straight at Brennan six minutes later.
It was 3-0 on 23 minutes when Souda’s deep corner found Lithgow unmarked at the back post and he powered an unstoppable header past Brennan into the far corner of the net. Souda then curled a free kick straight into the wall five minutes later.
Sibbald came close to his second of the game on 35 minutes when his long range effort took a deflection and whistled just wide of the post. A momentary lapse at the back from the Lions allowed the visitors their first sight of goal four minutes before the break as neat play saw Gary Windram fire a low effort straight at Sarkic from the edge of the box.
Half-time: Livingston 3-0 Berwick Rangers
Both sides made a change at the break, Steve Lawson coming on for his first appearance of the season in place of Marvin Bartley for Livi and Cameron Lumsden replacing Chris Gray for the visitors. The Lions picked up where they left off in the first half, Devlin and Dykes linking up well on 47 minutes for the full back to fire a low ball across goal. There were no takers and Sibbald then saw an effort blocked on the edge of the box.
Souda came close to grabbing a third in as many games three minutes later as Sibbald won possession and fed Pittman who teed up the Tunisian but he fired wide from a tight angle. Souda then passed up an even better chance a minute later when Sibbald’s shot was parried by Brennan but Souda couldn’t sort his feet out and he turned the ball wide.
Souda was far more involved now and went close again on 54 minutes when Lawson did well to break up play in the midfield before feeding Souda who curled a long range effort straight at Brennan. He then fired into the side netting from a tight angle eight minutes later.
The Lions made a double change on 62 minutes as Lee Miller and Lawless came on for Dykes and Souda. Berwick then made their second change soon after, sending on Ciaren Chalmers for Daryl Healy. Daniel Purves then replaced Windram for the visitors six minutes later.
Livi almost grabbed a fourth on 70 minutes when Lamie slipped the ball into Lawless and he forced a terrific save from Brennan at his near post. The resulting corner found Lithgow but his header crashed back off the crossbar. Lawson then curled a free kick high over the bar five minutes later after Miller had been fouled on the edge of the box.
The Lions finally had their fourth goal with ten minutes to play as Lawson’s free kick was swiped at by Lithgow but the ball fell kindly for Lamie and he curled a first-time effort past Brennan from just inside the box. That was the ex-Morton man’s third goal in as many games, doubling his career goal tally inside eleven days.
It was five for Livi barely three minutes as the ball fell to Sibbald at the edge of the box and he took a touch before firing a fine low effort past Brennan into the bottom right corner. They almost made it six two minutes from time when Lawless’ header was brilliantly kept out by Brennan but five was enough to take the Lions through to a last-16 tie away to League One side Forfar Athletic.
Full-time: Livingston 5-0 Berwick Rangers
Livingston: Sarkic, Devlin, Lithgow, Pepe, Lamie, Bartley (Lawson 45), Crawford, Pittman, Sibbald, Souda (Lawless 63), Dykes (Miller 63)
Subs Not Used: Maley, Jacobs, Tiffoney, McMillan
Goals: Lamie (2, 81), Sibbald (16, 84) Lithgow (24)
Berwick Rangers: Brennan, Forster, Cook, Waugh, Gray (Lumsden 45), Brian, Barr, Windram (Purves 70), Jack, Healy (Chalmers 63), Rose
Subs Not Used: Wright, Smith, Kidd
Referee: Colin Steven
Match Report: Andy Crawford
Photos: Rae Irvine