[media-credit name=”© Gill Williamson” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]It was back to league football after both sides recorded big victories in the Scottish Cup. Both teams were unchanged going into this one, as Livi hoped to close the gap on league leaders Ross County.
The pitch was in perfect condition and would provide the ideal surface for the teams passing style. Unfortunately the wind was to prove a big factor and it was Ross County who settled better into the game, with the first chance of the game when a Richard Brittain free kick went just by the Livingston goal.
Gary Miller then hit a thunderous drive from 30 yards but it caught the wind and went tamely over the bar. Richard Brittain had a similar effort but his shot was well dealt with by Andrew McNeil.
Iain Vigurs had a glorious chance to break the deadlock. Richard Brittain picked the ball up at the edge of the box and he deliciously chipped the ball back post to Iain Vigurs who could only header by the post.
A fine Iain Vigurs corner was then headed wide by Grant Munro as the highlanders took the game by the scruff of the neck.
Rory Boulding was next to have an effort from long distance and his shot was collected by Michael Fraser at the second attempt. Kenny Deuchar then had an ambitious overhead kick scooped over the bar.
Livingston were beginning to creep their way back into the match, a Craig Barr header close to giving Livingston the lead.
Rory Boulding did well to wiggle his way to the byline and his deflected cross nearly fooled keeper Michael Fraser. At the other end Scott Boyd was unlucky to head the ball over from a Richard Brittain corner.
Into the second half and both teams struggled to create any real chance as the defences stood firm.
Livingston had a string of set pieces, but they were easily dealt with by the Ross County defence.
Then the potential game changer, Rory Boulding went strongly into a challenge that referee Mike Tumilty deemed dangerous and the Livi wingman was given his marching orders.
Remarkably though it was Livingston who responded the better winning consecutive corners and putting the County defence under real pressure.
And then a massive chance for the away team to take the lead, when Livi Keeper Andrew McNeil misjudged the run of the ball allowing Colin McMenamin with an open goal but his poked effort was brilliantly cleared by Paul Watson.
[media-credit name=”© Gill Williamson” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]Ross County made the man difference matter when they took the lead in the 65th minute. Marc Fitzpatrick’s meandering run down the left-wing and subsequent cross found Michael Gardyne and he did brilliantly to stab the ball into the top corner.
County were effectively keeping possession and soon doubled their lead. Michael Gardyne waltzed through the Livi defence before cutting the ball to Colin McMenamin who had the simple task of putting the ball into an empty net.
The score was soon three, when Paul Lawson slipped the ball through to McMenamin and he calmly slotted the ball past keeper McNeil.
It was no more than County deserved and manager Derek Adams was delighted with the result: “To come here and get a 3 nil victory is great.Livingston have been un beaten in 18 months here so it was a big win. We’ll just take each game as it comes and see where that leaves us at the end of the season.”
A morose Gary Bollan bemoaned the sending off as he claimed it changed the game: “I’ll need to have a look at it again but it didn’t look like a sending off. From our point of view it changed the game as I thought we were getting into the game up until then.”
Livingston: McNeil, Jacobs, Talbot (Brown) 45, Fotheringham, Barr, Watson, Boulding, Jacobs 76, Deuchar (Fox) 76, McNulty (Russell) 76, Barr
Subs not used: Cummings, Jamieson
Ross County: Fraser, Miller, Fitzpatrick, Boyd, Munro, Lawson. Gardyne, Kettlewell (Quinn) 82, McMenamin (Craig) 87, Brittain (Duncan) 82, Vigurs
Subs not used: Byrne, Malin
Referee: Mike Tumilty