David Martindale’s unbeaten run has been brought to an end as St Johnstone beat Livingston 2-1 in West Lothian.

These sides meet at Hampden for the League Cup at the end of the month. It was a good opportunity to see how they will both shape up for that match and who might come out on top on the day. 

Livingston v Ross County - Betfred Cup Quarter Final

A battle awaited in Livingston (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

St Johnstone had the first chance of the game only a couple of minutes into the match. David Wotherspoon whipped in a corner which found birthday boy, Jason Kerr, who was lurking at the back post. The defender opted for a volley and hoped to make it a day to remember, but it drifted over the bar and the visitors were disappointed to not go ahead. 

The best chance of the half for the home side came when Scott Robinson headed the ball over to Scott Pittman, who pulled the trigger from outside the box, but he couldn’t keep it down and the ball flew over the bar.  Livingston were in complete control of the ball going into half-time and had several free kicks from dangerous areas, but they couldn’t create anything from them. 

The visitors were then gifted a dangerous free kick of their own in the last minute of the first half. Aaron Taylor-Sinclair was given a yellow card for his challenge and Scott Tanser stepped up to take it. The left-back dinked the ball over the wall and it dropped into the net.

St Johnstone v Hibernian - Betfred Cup Semi-Final

Tanser netted.. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

This was Tanser’s second goal of the campaign. It was his second free kick goal in a St Johnstone shirt as well, since his first against Dundee in 2019. The second half had only just begun and the visitors had already extended their lead to make it two.

It was another set-piece, but this time it was Liam Craig swinging the ball in from deep. Shaun Rooney was first to the ball and got his head to it and Max Stryjek had no chance in goals.

Very few chances fell to either side for the rest of the second half. It was St Johnstone who seemed the favourite to score again as Livingston struggled to create any good chances.  The hard day continued for Martindale’s men as they conceded a penalty with 15 minutes to go. Stevie May stepped up to take it, but it was Stryjek who came out on top and made a brilliant save to deny him. 

St Johnstone v Celtic - Scottish Cup Quarter Final

May missed a penalty. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

This seemed to give them confidence because a couple of minutes later, Jason Holt chipped a ball into the box for Pittman to head and the ball clipped the post and went past Clark in the Saints’ net. 

Minutes would have felt like hours for St Johnstone as they were looking to see out the dying moments. The away bench erupted when the final whistle went and it almost felt like they had done the impossible – beating Martindale’s Livingston on their own turf. Here are three things we learned.

St Johnstone end the streak

Livingston were going into this match 14 games unbeaten and looking to make it 15. They seemed unstoppable but St Johnstone were in good form also. Davidson’s side can take pride in stopping the West Lothian outfit when teams like Celtic and Aberdeen failed to take three points on two separate occasions. 

Livingston v St Mirren - Betfred Cup Semi-Final

A great run. (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Dangerous from set-pieces

St Johnstone struggled to create any clear-cut chances apart from when they were brought down for the penalty. They didn’t need that though as it was their set-pieces that saved the day.

Tanser is known to be dangerous from those areas and Craig has a knack for good deliveries into the box. It was what handed Saints the three points in this game and other oppositions should be wary of this. 

Cup preview

Now these two will need to wait until Hampden to battle again. This was a great chance to see how the two teams will shape up in the final and what the outcome of that game might be. 

After the result at the Tony Macaroni, St Johnstone will be heartened by the result, but still very wary that Livingston could beat them if they show form of recent times.

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