Two of the form teams in the division went head-to-head in West Lothian. Livingston looked to continue to prove those that wrote them off wrong against a St Johnstone team that look to be turning a corner.
Gary Holt named an unchanged Livingston team, following their 4-0 battering of Dundee at Almondvale. Fellow Taysiders St Johnstone coming to town meant Livi lined up in the 3-5-2 that has worked wonders so far this season. They have gone eight games unbeaten in the top flight for the first time ever, looking to make it nine.
Tommy Wright named just the one change to the Saints side that beat St Mirren 2-0 at the weekend. Liam Gordon replaced Drey Wright as Saints appeared to match Livingston’s three at the back formation.
Saints the super starters
All of five minutes gone and Saints would have the lead. Joe Shaugnessy’s long free kick was controlled superbly by Tony Watt. After jinking past a few yellow shirts, he dragged it across goal for Matty Kennedy to stab home. Watt making amends for a performance he’ll no doubt be gutted about, the win over St Mirren in which he missed a penalty and a great chance to put Saints one up.
The winger’s third goal for Saints since arriving as a free agent from Cardiff in the summer, his second in as many games. He probably won’t score an easier one in his time on Tayside.
Watt a nuisance
Tony Watt, after being the provider, went on a mazy run and created another opportunity for Saints after Alan Lithgow’s foul by winning a free kick. Liam Craig took it and fizzed it across goal. Despite Liam Kelly’s subsqequent parry, nobody was able to turn in his spillage.
Watt could have grabbed one himself after Richard Foster’s inch-perfect cross found the Saints striker. However, he couldn’t quite get on the end of it and steer it goalward.
Lions come roaring back
The home side’s first opportunity produced a great save from Zander Clark. Craig Halkett sent it long and as Shaugnessy and Craig headed on, it was recovered by Shaun Byrne, later finding Keaghan Jacobs. The South African found Lamie out wide and as Jason Kerr’s clearance hadn’t fully got rid of Livingston’s threat, Dolly Menga laid off to Scott Pittman, who tried to create some space and eventually shot, great save from the keeper to deny the midfielder inside the area.
The first opportunity of the second period came when Steven Lawless and Dolly Menga looked to combine. The Angolan’s cross deflecting off Kerr before setting up nicely for the former Partick Thistle midfielder whose shot also deflected, this time off Liam Craig and behind.
Craig Sibbald had a pop from range before dragging wide and some spirited Saints defending meant that for the third game in a row, St Johnstone had kept a clean sheet. No surprise therefore, to see the results coming with it. Three wins and three clean sheets in a row for Tommy Wright’s team.
They next travel to the capital to take on Hibernian at Easter Road. Livi, after suffering their first defeat in nine matches, travel through to Hamilton to take on Accies at New Douglas Park.