This weekend it was the turn of Livingston and Partick Thistle to fight it out in the First Division league campaign. A point separated the two teams going into this one with Partick Thistle in fourth place while Livingston lie in sixth.
Livingston were held to an away draw in their last league encounter, drawing 1-1 with Ross County with David Sinclair getting on the score sheet. Partick Thistle on the other hand were in spectacular form as they demolished Ayr by four goals to nil. David Rowson, Paul Cairney, Chris Erskine and Kris Doolan providing the goals for the Jags.
Livingston made three changes to their side as Ross Docherty, Jonathan Brown and Bobby Barr were all included. Partick Thistle meanwhile just made the one change with Conrad Balatoni coming in.
The booming drums of the Livi faithful welcomed the players onto the park with Partick Thistle starting the game.
Livingston had the first chance as Iain Russell did well to scoop his cross into the box, but Kenny Deuchar’s header was well dealt with by keeper Scott Fox.
Thistle though came back into it with Aaron Sinclair doing well to get to the byline before drilling a low cross into the box, but Kris Doolan could only fire over the top. Liam Fox then hit a stoater of a free kick from fully 30 yards, but unfortunately for him it went inches wide.
It was an action packed start to the half and Thistle went very close to taking the lead. A Paul Paton long ball was well controlled by Kris Doolan who neatly laid it off for Christie Elliot, but Craig Barr somehow got back to make the block with the goal gaping.
Kenny Deuchar then broke the deadlock for the home side with a fine header from 12 yards out. Just what the doctor ordered for the Lions as Thistle arguably shaded the first half hour.
David Rowson had two chances to equalise for Thistle, but both his efforts were well blocked by keeper Andy McNeil.
Aaron Sinclair then did brilliantly to dink his way past two players before firing the ball across goal, but no one could latch onto it.
The Jags were looking the most likely side to find an equaliser with Kyle Hutton going close with a freekick. The half time whistle came at the wrong time for Thistle as they were beginning to dominate the tie.
Into the Second Half and it was Jackie McNamara’s side who came out stronger and were rewarded with a fine goal from Christie Elliot. The Jags hitman instinctively prodded the ball into the Livi goal from the edge of the area.
Livi nearly took the lead again when Conrad Balatoni carelessly gave the ball away to Iain Russell who rounded keeper Andy McNeil but from a very tight angle found the side netting.
Paul Cairney went close for the visitors as his deflected cross nearly looped into the net.
Some good interchange play between Cairney and Elliot found Cairney through on goal, but he could only blast the ball into the gut of Andy McNeil.
With 10 minutes remaining Iain Russell had a penalty shout turned down, but referee George Salmond saw nothing wrong with keeper Andy McNeil’s challenge.
It was a pulsating end to the game as both sides looked to claim the winner. The game ebbed and flowed from one end to the other until finally Kyle Jacobs earned his side a winner. It was a sensational strike from the wee man, 25 yards out he half volleyed the ball into the bottom right hand corner.
A sore one to take for the Jags fans, but Livi won’t care as they earned all three points.
Gary Bollan was understandably a happy man after the game: “I’m pleased to get the win, although I don’t think we played as well as we have done. We showed great character to get the win but Thistle showed that they were a good side.”
Jackie MacNamara commented: “I thought we deserved the three points today to be honest. I thought we dominated and passed the ball very well. I’m disappointed for the lads as they put alot of effort into that game.”
Livingston: McNeil, Jacobs, Talbot, Brown (Travis) 67, Barr, Docherty, Fox, Scougall, Deuchar (McNulty) 72, Russell, Barr.
Subs not used: Boulding Gray and Jamieson
Partick Thistle: Fox, Paton, Balatoni, Archibald, Sinclair, Cairney, Rowson, Hutton, Erskine (O’Donnell) 76, Doolan (Stewart) 84, Elliot
Subs not used: Lindsay, Flannigan and Scully
Referee: George Salmond
Match Photos courtesy of Liam McFadden