Livi returned to form following last week’s disappointing league defeat at Queens Park with a devastating first half performance against Tommy McIntyre’s young Celtic side.
Five goals from The Lions in the opening 45 minutes effectively ended the game as a contest, despite a consolation in first half stoppage time from the visitors.
The home side’s run of three consecutive league victories came to an abrupt halt and Hampden last Saturday and could have been forgiven for approaching this Challenge Cup game against the Celtic Under-20s with some trepidation. The opponents had dispatched League 2 opposition in previous rounds of the competition, overcoming both Annan Athletic and Cowdenbeath before being rewarded with a tie in West Lothian.
However, Livi took the game to their visitors and opened the scoring in the 5th minute. A superb diagonal pass from Alan Lithgow found Danny Mullen in the penalty area, whose subsequent lay-off found Liam Buchanan who glided past two desperate tackles to guide the ball past the Doohan in the Celtic goal.
Shortly afterwards, The Lions doubled their lead when Buchanan sent the goalkeeper the wrong way from a spot kick following a foul on Mullen in the penalty area. Then, to complete the whirlwind start the game, Livi scored a third in the 16th minute. An excellent delivery from a corner by Josh Mullin was headed powerfully into the net by Sean Crighton. Even so early in the game, there seemed little doubt that the home team would progress to the next round of the competition.
Livi continued to control the game and probed for more goals as the half progressed. However, after squandering several good chances, the home side scored their fourth with only 10 minutes of the first half remaining. In a role reversal of the opener, Buchanan turned provider to give Danny Mullen a deserved goal and take the score-line to 4-0.
The remarkable first half scoring spree continued minutes later when Buchanan’s goal-bound effort struck Jackson Longridge, in a most delicate part of the body, deflecting the ball past the despairing dive of the Hoops’ keeper for Livi’s fifth. No doubt Buchanan would like to have claimed his hat-trick but the goal was attributed to The Lions’ left back.
However, the visitors scored a consolation in first half added time when the impressive Regan Hendry struck a tremendous 25-yard shot beyond Livi’s debutant Maley into the top corner.
With the home side leading 5-1 at half-time, the first half was always going to be a hard act to follow. And so it proved. Livi appeared content to retain possession for long spells throughout the second 45 minutes and failed to add to their lead despite several attempts at goal.
The game, feeling increasingly like a testimonial or a friendly, moved towards the final whistle relatively without incident or controversy.
The reward for Livi is a last-16 tie away to Northern Irish outfit Crusaders.
Livingston: Maley, Longridge (Neill 75), Lithgow, Crighton, Halkett, Miller, Byrne (Sinclair 45), Mullin, Pittman, Mullen, Buchanan (Allan 71)
Subs not used: Cadden, Carrick, Watt, Quinn
Goals: Buchanan (5, 14 pen & 40), Crighton (17), Mullen (35)
Celtic Colts: Doohan, Ralston, Mcilduff, McCart, Wardrop, Hill, Nesbitt, Thomson, Hendry, Miller, Crossan (Aitchison 56)
Subs not used: Higgins, Hazard, Kerr, Archibald, Johnston, Payne
Goals: Hendry (43)
Referee: Steven Kirkland
Match Report: Calum Brown