Livingston hit twice late in the second half to maintain their unbeaten start to life under David Martindale, beating Alex Dyer’s Kilmarnock 2-0.
Livi dominated the first half chances and may have felt they should have been at least 1-0 up. They would eventually get two goals in the second half, although they had to wait until the 88th and 89th minute to get them.
There was an argument to be made for Livingston being the most formidable side to face in the Premiership at present. Going unbeaten in 11, booking a League Cup final spot and David Martindale passing his fit and proper person test had brought an enormous feel-good factor to West Lothian pre-match.
They had a push for European spots going too but Kilmarnock were looking to be the side to dampen Livi’s spirits, having ambitions of pushing towards that top six and away from the bottom end of the league.
Martindale’s men were on the front foot in the first half and had many chances. Their first came after eight minutes when Alan Forrest forced a good save from Danny Rogers after a defensive error, Jon Guthrie cracking the bar eight minutes later.
Gavin Reilly then had a chance before the break but it again didn’t come off. While dominating play, Livi weren’t ahead, giving Killie hope. They had more life about them in the second half and new Ayrshire signing George Oakley almost had a debut goal with a high effort before the hour mark.
But nothing was coming off for either side as the clock ticked towards 90. The game got stuffier and stuffier but a youngster was to have the defining shout. After sustained Livi pressure, Livingston’s Jaze Kabia got the ball off the break of a cross, his deflected effort hitting the roof of the net to make it 1-0.
Then it was two shortly after, Pittman marking 250 Livi appearances with a fitting winner, firing high past Rogers to confirm the victory. Here are three things we learned from another great Livi outing.
An incredible start to life under Martindale as manager continued in West Lothian, Livingston still preserving their unbeaten status under him. That’s now 12 games unbeaten, a fantastic run, although they left this one very late.
With Aberdeen and Hibs both dropping points, they have again gained ground on those above them with the race for Europe well and truly on. They will be begin to wonder what defeat feels like, as all Livi know is victory.
Pittman has been a sensational player for Livingston and fittingly he got the winner in his landmark match, with appearance 250th bookmarking another fine Livi moment.
Should he secure a League Cup winners’ medal next month, you can guarantee that Pittman will go down as one of the club’s best ever players, such are the magnitude of his achievements.
With Clevid Dikamona not in the squad, plus injury to Kirk Broadfoot and Gary Dicker, Dyer had one real Kilmarnock centre-back option to pick from here in Stuart Findlay. A headache was likely had when he headed off with an ankle injury at half-time.
Killie finished with two right-backs in Ross Millen and Zeno Rossi, who to their credit defended superbly together. Dyer didn’t name a full bench for this one and it was mostly packed with youngsters but it’s centre-back where fitness problems are starting to appear.
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