Saturday 3 May 2014

2 - 0
Raith Rovers
Mullen (8)
McNulty (80)
HT 1-0

Livi signed off for a turbulent season in style as they produced a fine display to see off Raith Rovers and secure a first win in six games.

Rovers arrived in West Lothian looking for three points to leapfrog the Lions and secure a sixth-placed finish while Livi went in search of a final flourish after their ill-timed poor run had killed off their play-off hopes.

The Lions got off to a flier when they took the lead on 15 minutes with a brilliant team goal. Burton O'Brien played the ball out wide to Keaghan Jacobs and he sent a fine first-time ball over his own shoulder to release Marc McNulty down the left. He hit the byline and cut the ball back for Danny Mullen to run on to and fire a low first time shot under Lee Robinson and into the corner of the net.

That early momentum was very quickly brought to a grinding halt when Livi were reduced to ten men as Jason Talbot's underhit pass was seized upon by Calum Elliot and the one-time Livi man was brought down by Craig Sives. Referee David Somers, in his final match before retirement, had no hesitation in producing the red card though, given that the ball had rolled through to Darren Jamieson, to deem the tackle to be denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity seemed a tad harsh.

Despite the man disadvantage, Livi continued to press forward and came close again when Jacobs lifted a ball over midfield to lay in McNulty and he drove at the Raith defence before firing in a low shot which Robinson did well to hold. Rovers created their first chance soon after as Callum Booth and Joe Cardle both fired in crosses which were half-cleared before he ball broke back to Booth and he fired in a low first time shot which Jamieson did well to gather at the second attempt.

Rovers came close again just before the break as Cardle picked up from Booth and played a one-two with Liam Fox before firing in a fine strike which cannoned back off the post before Kyle Jacobs cleared to safety to ensure Livi went in at half-time in front.

Raith picked up where they left off at the start of the second half as Dougie Hill played a low through-ball to find Elliot on the left and he cut inside before firing in a low shot from the edge of the box which Jamieson did well to hold. Livi managed to regain a foothold in the game after that and came close twice in quick succession as first Keaghan Jacobs fired in a strike and, when Robinson parried it back to him, he played in Martin Scott who could only fire wide with the goal at his mercy.

Livi were beginning to dominate and came close again when Scott released McNulty down the right but, after being forced wide by Robinson, he could only shoot into the side netting from a very tight angle. They had to be on their guard though as Raith retained a threat on the counter attack and Elliot laid the ball back to John Baird but his curling effort was tame and Jamieson head it with ease.

Livi made sure of a final-day victory with ten minutes to go though when Scott showed great skill and tenacity to make some space in midfield before playing in McNulty and he took a touch before smashing in an tremendous drive across Robinson and into the far corner of the net to wrap up a deserved win and secure a sixth-placed finish for John McGlynn's side.

Pre-season ambitions of promotion were swiftly revised to avoiding the drop after a poor start and, although there was an occasional flirtation with the top four, overall the side can look back at the season and think 'job done'. It remains to be seen what next season's side will look like but, with Rangers, Hearts and possibly Hibernian set to visit the Energy Assets Arena next season, the Championship is shaping up to be the league to watch!

Livingston: Jamieson, Fordyce, Talbot, O'Brien, Sives, Praprotnik (Mevlja 33), Kn.Jacobs, Ky.Jacobs, Mullen (Denholm 79), McNulty (Rutherford 90), Scott
Subs not used:
Beaumont, Walker, Burchill, Lander

Raith Rovers: Robinson, Mullen, Booth, Fox, Watson, Hill, Cardle, Callachan (Vaughan 62), Spence, Baird, Anderson
Subs not used: Ellis, Laidlaw, Watson, Matthews, McCroary, Bates

Referee: David Somers

Attendance: 1265

Match report: Andrew Crawford