David Martindale oversaw a rampant Livingston victory as they progressed to the League Cup quarter-finals after a 4-0 victory over Ayr United at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
Right from the off Livingston looked like they had a point to prove following the resignation of Gary Holt as manager. Going close with their first attempt, the Lions earned a corner and following a quick passage of play between Josh Mullin and Alan Forrest at the corner flag, Mullin dropped in a delightful ball into the box that Innes Cameron could only head into his own net.
Livingston did not take long to double their lead with Jack Fitzwater rifling home a shot from inside the box after Ayr failed to clear a corner. The Honest Men were left with a mountain to climb after a rapid start from Martindale’s side. A sublime save from Viljami Sinisalo prevented a third for Livi moments after the second hit the back of the net.
Ayr would find themselves 3-0 down after 15 minutes with Fitzwater again heading the ball into the United goal for his second of the afternoon. Everything the Lions produced caused issues for the Mark Kerr’s defence with corners proving to be the downfall of the Ayrshire side.
The departure of Holt during the week appeared to have ignited a spark within this Livingston side. Holt had criticised his players for not being able to see out games, but 15 minutes was all it took for the West Lothian side to build a lead that seemed almost impossible to lose.
Just as Ayr were starting to find their feet in the game with a few spells of possession, Livi ended their 20-minute goal drought with Alan Forrest scoring a fourth with three minutes go until half-time.
The teams headed in for half-time and Kerr could easily have swapped his starting eleven for a new squad if it were permitted. Offering nothing in attack and collapsing defensively meant that the tie was virtually over as the teams emerged for the restart.
With a couple of substitutions at half-time, the Ayr player-manager attempted to change the shape of his side. Perhaps not an attempt to get back into the game but more to prevent a rampant Lions side from scoring any more.
Ayr offered little in an attacking sense the second half was largely all Livi and as the clocked ticked down, the initial intensity from Lions had worn off. With a comfortable 4-0 lead Martindale’s men could afford to take their foot off the gas as they prepared to cruise into the last eight of the cup. Here are three things we learned.
Forrest pride of the Lions
It’s a tough act to follow in the steps of your siblings in sport but Forrest looks every bit a Premiership player since he left Ayr United in the summer.
Providing he can kick on and make another step up further down the line, there is no reason that Forrest could land himself a big move as he added to his goal tally here.
Life after Holt
Despite finishing in the top half of the table last season, things did not get off to a good start for Holt in West Lothian this season.
Holt grew frustrated and ultimately resigned with the club struggling. The announcement was unexpected and perhaps out of the blue despite the former boss alluding he may walk after last week’s match with St Mirren.
However, the performance against Ayr proved that this Livi side still have plenty of fight in them.
Ayr can focus on the Championship
Many teams look for cup success as the season begins and Ayr United have been no different. Aiming for a trip to the quarter-finals prior to kick-off at, Kerr fielded a strong side to try and topple Livingston after what had been a turbulent week for the Lions.
A first-half masterclass from Martindale’s men put an end to any hope of reaching the last eight but the Honest Men can now kick on with their Championship league campaign.