By Ben McNicol

It’s been an excellent week for David Martindale and Livingston, but things got better as they signed off for Christmas with dominant 2-0 victory away to Hamilton.

Jon Guthrie’s header after 52 minutes deservedly opened the scoring, and despite missing a whole array of clear-cut chances to add to their advantage, eventually managed to put the game beyond doubt in the dying embers as Josh Mullin’s free-kick nestled into the top corner.

Hamilton Academical v Livingston - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

Martindale’s men beat Rice’s. (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Both sides had plenty of momentum heading into this, Livingston progressing to the League Cup semi-finals while Brian Rice’s side won the all-important six pointer in Dingwall against Ross County at the weekend.

However, Hamilton’s Covid-19 issues continued as four players missed out this clash, one testing positive for the virus while the others are having to self-isolate for 10 days. Livingston were well and truly dominate for the opening 45 minutes, with Lions keeper Max Stryjek a passenger up the other end as Accies failed to have a single attempt at goal.

After two minutes, the Lions thought they had an early lead. Alan Forrest did excellently down the left and his cross for Scott Pittman flashed narrowly wide of the post. Minutes later it was the crossbar that denied the visitors the opener. Mullin’s fantastic cross into the box found Scott Robinson, who’s header crashed off the underside of the bar.

Hamilton Academical v Livingston - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

Robinson missed a chance. (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Finally, Hamilton caved in following 52 minutes of insurmountable pressure as Martindale’s side struck first. Jason Holt’s chipped delivery towards the back-post was met by towering defender Guthrie, who deservedly put the Lions ahead.

Livingston should’ve sealed the game with 10 minutes remaining when Jay Emmanuel-Thomas played in Pittman who sent Robinson through one-on-one, but his shot was well saved by Kyle Gourlay.

 

It was game, set and match for the Lions as they at long last managed to put the game beyond doubt, Mullin rounding off an excellent personal performance with a superb free-kick from 20-yards. Here are three things we learned on a good night for the Lions

Five-star Livingston

The transformation at Livingston since Martindale took over has been nothing short of incredible and this victory made it five wins on the bounce.

Hamilton Academical v Livingston - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

Brilliant form.. (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Avoiding relegation will be the main priority for the Lions, but should this fine form continue, they will undoubtedly be aiming their sights much higher come the end of the season.

Battling affair

It was never going to be pretty, but Hamilton manager Rice will most likely be disappointed with his side’s performance as they registered just two shots at goal throughout the 90 minutes with none of them on target.

On the other hand, newly appointed Livingston manager Martindale will be over the moon with three points, but may be slightly aggrieved that his team didn’t add another couple to the final score.

Hamilton Academical v Livingston - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

Could have been more. (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Hamilton’s unfortunate Covid-19 issues

It’s fair to say that Rice and Accies have had their fair share of coronavirus issues and unfortunately the virus has affected them once more as another player tests positive, track and trace ruling a few more out.

Just as they were beginning to hit arguably their best form of the season, two players in Ross Callachan and Scott Martin were just two of the key men unavailable here as Rice again faces fitness issues.

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