By Declan Hughes
A couple of long balls up to hitman Lyndon Dykes caused the Saints a few problems early on and after two minutes, Craig Sibbald curled in a pinpoint cross which met the head of John Guthrie. His effort was cleared off the line by the Saints defence.
However, the Lions went napping and Buddies striker Jon Obika found himself with a golden opportunity after a ball from over the top set him through on goal, only to be cleared in the nick of time by Livi keeper Robby McCrorie.
Livi playmaker Sibbald put Dykes through on goal after the half-hour mark, where he was deemed to have been brought down in the box by Conor McCarthy. Steven Lawless stepped up and placed a great finish into the right corner.
Gary Holt’s men came flying out the traps in the second half and within 30 seconds, there was an instant impact from half-time substitute Keaghan Jacobs. He played through Dykes, who placed a neat finish by Saints keeper Vaclav Hladky to extend the Lions lead.
However, it only took five minutes before the Buddies got themselves back in to the game. Obika pulled one back for the visitors after a nice through ball by Cammy Macpherson.
The Buddies came close to equalising on a couple of occasions late on. A glancing header from McCarthy was tipped wide of the post and then a Macpherson piledriver was pushed over the bar by a fantastic McCrorie save, securing all three points.
Livi find themselves in fifth, edging closer to Aberdeen in fourth. St Mirren remain in tenth, three points behind Ross County. Here are three things we learned.
The importance of Dykes
The Australian-born striker has made quite a name for himself this season as he has recorded 8 goals and 6 assists prior to this encounter v St Mirren.
It may have been a cold, bitter night in West Lothian, however Dykes looked fired up for the game. The hitman was the outlet for the majority of attacks for Livi, coming short, holding the ball up well, winning flick ons from long balls and throw ins and also showing his pace with runs away from the last man – which seen him add to his tally.
Lack of cutting edge and backline mistake costs Saints
St Mirren came into this tie unbeaten in four, in the form of draws. The Paisley side have been known for their resilience since club legend Jim Goodwin took over, however, they had problems at both ends in West Lothian.
The men in black and white failed to make some good chances pay and also silly mistakes from the back four gifted Livi two great goals. Goodwin will hope to see his side shrug off these poor errors from his backline.
He’ll also hope that January addition Alex Jakubiak can form a lethal partnership with Obika in their push for survival.
Livi move within touching distance of Aberdeen
The West Lothian outfit used home advantage to get themselves back in the winning column again and the feel-good factor certainly seems to be back amongst the squad, despite dropping out the Scottish Cup to lower league opposition.
Holt has made key signings to suit a well-structured formation and if the men in black and yellow string some good results together, they can be considered as strong contenders for fourth place, especially with Aberdeen struggling of late.