January 17, 2019

Report: Livingston 2-3 St Mirren

By James Hunter at The Tony Macaroni Arena

St Mirren got the 2016/17 season off to a winning start, defeating Livingston 3-2 at the Tony Macaroni Arena. A Lewis Morgan chip was sandwiched in between two stunning goals from David Clarkson as Saints went top of Group G in the Betfred Cup after the first game.

The Buddies started brightly but were given an early warning when Livingston’s Danny Mullen fired just wide of Scott Gallacher’s near post. Clarkson went close to getting the opener minutes later when a scramble in the box saw the ball land at his feet but Liam Kelly did well to block. Gary Irvine did well to prevent Mullen getting a ball into the box with an excellent challenge and was called into action moments later when he headed the ball off the line from a Livingston corner.

With just 13 minutes on the clock Clarkson kept up his good pre-season form, where he scored 5 goals in 3 games, by opening the scoring with a stunning volley. The striker got on the end of John Sutton’s knock down and slammed the ball beyond Kelly to the delight of the travelling support.

Livingston showed they weren’t out of the game though, going close through Nicky Cadden whose neat bit of footwork fashioned an opportunity but his effort went just over the bar. And it was Cadden again who went close to getting Livingston a first half equaliser when his free kick was excellently tipped wide by Saints debutant Scott Gallacher.

Lewis Morgan, who ended last season on a high, almost added his name to the score sheet when he twisted and turned to evade a Livingston defender but saw his effort blocked by Kelly.

Half-Time: Livingston 0-1 St Mirren

Saints looked to get the second half off to a flyer and a strong piece of play from Jason Naismith saw him wriggle away from the challenging Livingston defender and whip in a ferocious ball across the box but there was no one on the end of it.

The fragility of a 1-0 lead told when 5 minutes into the second half Livingston were level. Nicky Cadden picked up a ball on the left and smashed it beyond Gallacher from outside the box.

Livingston were on the ascendancy and looked to capitalise when they brought on midfielder Dale Carrick. And with his first touch he got on the end of Cadden’s cross to fire into the net and put the Lions ahead with a little over 20 minutes to go.

The lead didn’t last long though when Lewis Morgan equalised for St Mirren. The winger picked up the ball in the centre of the pitch and drove into the right hand side of the box before chipping the ball from near the byline over the head of Kelly and into the far corner of the net.

Saints continued to press in the hopes of finding a winner and Rocco Quinn went close when a tackle on Morgan saw the ball break to the midfielder but his curled effort went over the bar. It wouldn’t take long for the winner to come though when Clarkson scored his second of the afternoon. The striker chested the ball and let it bounce before unleashing a wonderful half volley into the back of the net. Chants of ‘Clarkson’s on fire’ emanated from the Saints support who were delighted to see the team come back from 2-1 down to take the lead.

The win was safe for the Buddies but there was a disturbing incident a few minutes from time when Rocco Quinn landed awkwardly and had to be stretchered off the pitch and taken to hospital.

Full-Time: Livingston 2-3 St Mirren

Livingston: Kelly, Miller, Lithgow, Crighton, Longridge, Sinclair (Pittman 59), Halkett, Mullin, Cadden, Buchanan (Carrick 67), Mullen (Orr 76).
Subs Not Used: Knox, Byrne, Watt, Jamieson (GK).

St Mirren: Gallacher, Naismith, Webster, Baird, Irvine, Morgan, Quinn (Stewart 88), Mallan, Gallagher (Hutton 69), Clarkson, Sutton.
Subs Not Used: Gordon, Flanagan, O’Keefe, Langfield (GK).

Referee: Gavin Duncan.
Assistant Referee: Andrew McWilliam.
Assistant Referee: David McKniff.

Attendance: 894

Star Saint: David Clarkson.

St Mirren manager, Alex Rae said after the match: “We started the game really well and got the lead and we had control of the game. We came off the pace a little bit after we got the goal which is the disappointing thing from my point of view. I feel as if we should be imposing ourselves more and get on the ball. They changed their shape a little bit with Buchanan coming into the hole and Mullen going up front and I think our midfield were worrying about Buchanan, more so than picking up second balls.

“Having gone 2-1 down, I was pleased with the response – they showed their spirit.

“We’ve lost Rocco so we’re getting him scanned tonight and we will assess that.”

Match report and gallery pictures by Allan Picken – © Allan Picken Photography.