Livingston’s season ended in a whimper as they were defeated 2-0 away at St Johnstone to finish eighth in the Premiership.
The defeat – which came about thanks to Drey Wright making the most of a defensive error in the first-half and Chris Kane slamming home a penalty after the break – closed out a campaign that had promised so much.
In early February, the Lions were roaring in fourth placed and seemingly all set for a top six spot and putting in a genuine challenge for European football. But three wins in their remaining 14 fixtures put paid to that and leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
Livi started the game brightly with Bruce Anderson firing a half-volley from the edge of the box on five minutes that was hit straight at Ross Sinclair in the Saints goal.
At the other end, Ryan McGowan went for the dramatic an nearly pulled it off as his overhead kick was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Jack Hamilton – who was standing in for the suspended Shamal George in the Livi goal while Wright’s angled drive a couple of minutes later hit the side-netting.
He didn’t have to wait long to find the right side of the woodwork, though, as he opened the scoring on 18 minutes thanks to some defensive dithering by the visitors. Hamilton’s clearance was nodded forward by McGowan with Tom Parkes leaving the ball – presumably believing the keeper was coming to collect. But the goalie was rooted to the spot with Wright racing through and firing home his seventh goal of the campaign.
The centre-back almost made amends on the half-hour mark but saw his header clutched just under the crossbar by Sinclair.
Livi passed up their best chance of the game just four minutes into the second-half as Scott Pittman was unable to connect properly with his header when found unmarked six yards out by Jason Holt as he searched for his first league goal of the campaign.
While that was a poor miss, it was nothing in comparison to Wright’s effort at the other end of the park just after the hour mark. Graham Carey did all the hard work down the left and laid it on a plate for the winger who somehow managed to sky the ball over the bar from three yards with nobody around him.
His blushes were spared somewhat as their lead was doubled shortly after when Penrice was ruled to have fouled James Brown in the box. Kane duly sent Hamilton the wrong way from the spot with proceedings from then on very much resembling the end of season nothing affair it had become.
The Saints fans had one final cheer in them as club legend Murray Davidson entered the fray for the final moments as he brought his career to an end following 415 games and 14 years with the Perth side.
For Livi, though, it feels like a busy summer ahead.
Match Report: Callum Carson (Daily Record)
St Johnstone: Sinclair, Brown, Goedon ©️, Considine, Montgomery, Wright (Wotherspoon 75), MacPherson (Phillips 75), McGowan, Carey, Ballantyne (Davidson 90), May (Kane 63)
Subs not used: Wills, Gallacher, Mitchell, Rudden, McLennan
Goals: Wright (17), Kane (68 pen)
Livingston: Hamilton, Devlin (Brandon 70), de Lucas ▊, Parkes (Omeonga 72), Penrice ▊, Holt (Shinnie 58), Sn.Kelly ©️ ▊, Pittman, Bradley (Bahamboula 58), St.Kelly, Anderson
Subs not used:
Referee: Graham Grainger