Saturday 30 November 2013

St Johnstone
2 - 0
May (24)
Jahic (62)
HT 1-0

Livi were beaten but not disgraced as they crashed out of the William Hill Scottish Cup with a 2-0 defeat against Premiership side St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

Goals from Stevie May and Sanel Jahic saw the Perth side into the last 16 as a late Lions rally failed to spark a fightback, with Callum Fordyce and Marc McNulty among those who came close to a consolation.

It was the top flight side who made the much stronger start as Livi struggled to settle as May, David Wotherspoon and Nigel Hasselbaink all came close in the early stages but Livi had a great chance of their own as Fordyce rose highest to bullet in a header which Saints’ keeper Allan Mannus had to stretch to tip over the crossbar.

Despite that chance, it was still St Johnstone who looked the more threatening and Wotherspoon came close again with a tremendous free kick from 25 yards out which flew inches wide of the post. However it was only a matter of time until the goal came and it was no surprise who got it as Stevie May, so often the scourge of the Lions during his time on loan at Hamilton, picked up a pass from ex-Livi hero Murray Davidson 20 yards out and lashed a thumping drive past the despairing dive of Kevin Walker in the Lions goal.

Fordyce came close to an equaliser when another fine header was thwarted by an equally impressive save from Mannus before a moment of controversy as Marc McNulty ran onto Burton O’Brien’s through ball and slammed the ball home for what should have been an equaliser, only for him to be denied by a linesman’s flag with TV pictures later showing McNulty was at least a yard onside at the time the ball was played into him, leaving Livi aggrieved. McNulty was then denied by another fingertip save from the apparently unbeatable Mannus as Livi went in at the break slightly unfortunate to be 1-0 down.

The second half was a bit of a slow burner until just after the hour mark when Saints wrapped up their fifth round spot with a simple set-piece goal. Wotherspoon sent a free kick across the box which took Walker completely out of the game and left Bosnia international Jahic with the simple task of bundling the ball into the net.

With Livi committing men forward in search of a route back into the match, they were lucky not to lose a third goal as Hasselbaink shot wildly over the bar when he had far better options in the middle of the box.
Livi created a few chances near the end as Fordyce sent a loose ball wide of target before McNulty saw a shot trickle agonisingly past the post with Mannus finally beaten. Saints striker Rory Fallon cracked a header against the bar before Livi skipper Simon Mensing suffered the same fate with a looping header at the other end as the gallant Lions kept battling to the end.

So the defeat ends Livi’s cup ambitions for another year, having failed to get past the fourth round for the fifth successive season, but it allows the team to concentrate on the league campaign and trying to fight their way into the promotion play-off hunt. 

St Johnstone: Mannus, Mackay, Scobbie, Millar, McDonald, Wotherspoon, Hasselbaink (Fallon 76), May, M.Davidson (Caddis 84), B.Easton, Jahic
Subs not used:
Banks, Cregg, Wright, Edwards, Miller

Livingston: Walker, Barrowman (Burchill 83), Donaldson, Fordyce, Jacobs, McNulty, Mensing, O'Brien, Scott (Denholm 75), Scougall, Talbot (Twardzik 69)
Subs not used:
Jamieson, Beaumont, , Docherty, Wilkie

Referee: Andrew Dallas

Attendance: 2294

Match report: Andrew Crawford