Scottish League Cup - Semi-final
LivingstonLivingston1St MirrenSt Mirren0

Livingston 1-0 St Mirren: David Martindale's side edge through to final

By Martin WattBBC Scotland
Scott Robinson (left) headed Livingston into an early lead at Hampden
Scott Robinson (left) headed Livingston into an early lead at Hampden

Livingston survived a late bombardment to edge past St Mirren at Hampden and set up a Scottish League Cup final against St Johnstone.

Scott Robinson's early header ultimately made it 11 games unbeaten under David Martindale as the club reached just their second major final.

St Mirren had a strong penalty claim dismissed, when Nicky Devlin caught Joe Shaughnessy, and finished strongly.

But Livingston clung on to secure a return to Hampden on 28 February.

Martindale's midas touch shows no signs of fading, with the head coach's ninth win the most precious of his embryonic tenure.

Livingston's only previous silverware came in this competition in 2004 and they hadn't featured in a semi-final for 15 years. But recent form favoured Martindale's men in this all-Premiership tie and they wasted no time in asserting themselves.

Jon Guthrie and Josh Mullin both registered shots on target in a frantic start before static St Mirren defending was exposed as the breakthrough arrived.

Robinson was both creator and scorer, initially flicking on a deep free-kick inside the box to Efe Ambrose. When the defender nodded against the crossbar, Robinson's attentiveness in following up was rewarded with a simple headed finish.

Eamonn Brophy dragged wide from distance as St Mirren tried to muster a response. But the striker was an isolated presence as Jim Goodwin's men struggled for a first-half foothold while showing no hint of the performance that had claimed Rangers' scalp in the previous round.

Even the big calls weren't going St Mirren's way. They should have had a penalty when Devlin clattered Shaughnessy on the calf in an attempted clearance, but referee David Munro ignored the appeals.

He did likewise after the break when substitute Jon Obika tumbled under minimal contact from Julien Serrano.

Devlin should have doubled Livingston's lead shortly after half-time, slicing a Mullin delivery over.

And that let-off finally jolted St Mirren to life as Conor McCarthy's header from a corner was cleared off the line by Craig Sibbald, before a dipping Aaron Connolly effort had to be helped over bar by goalkeeper Max Stryjek.

Brophy also sent a header too high as Livingston, having been so comfortable, were pinned back in the closing stages.

Perhaps the best chance for an equaliser fell to Obika from a Kyle McAllister cross, but the striker got his timing all wrong and his attempted header bounced off his shoulder and trickled to Stryjek.

Still Goodwin's men kept coming, and still Livingston refused to buckle. Shaughnessy sent a header agonisingly wide from a corner before Obika's drive deflected into the side-netting as St Mirren's hopes of a first final since lifting the trophy in 2013 evaporated in the freezing Hampden air.

Man of the match - Scott Robinson

The striker capped a tireless performance with his fourth goal in six games to send his side into the final
The striker capped a tireless performance with his fourth goal in six games to send his side into the final

What did we learn?

This was the acid test of Martindale's capabilities - and his side did him proud. Livingston have played better during their current sparkling run, but this was a gusty, committed performance from a team pushed to the limit.

With Martindale's Scottish FA 'fit and proper person' hearing looming on Tuesday - at which he will learn if he can continue in the role after a previous stint in jail - the rehabilitated Livingston leader is already a real credit to Scottish management.

St Mirren, meanwhile, can bow out with heads held high. Their jarring regret will be the meek first-half showing that allowed Livingston to wrest control.

They can't afford to wallow in disappointment, though, with a first top-half finish in the Premiership since 1985 now the target in the remainder of the season.

What did they say?

Livingston head coach David Martindale: "I'm absolutely thrilled for the community, staff, the board, everyone connected with the club.

"I don't think anyone remembers how you get to the final, because at times it wasn't pretty, but who cares? It was two honest teams, giving it everything and leaving nothing on the park."

St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin: "We're bitterly disappointed. The boys are lying on floor in there. There's tears and a lot of sorrow because we had a big chance to get to the final.

"You need a bit of luck in a game like this, but I don't think we got any today."

What's next?

There's no respite for either side, with Livingston hosting Kilmarnock in the Premiership on Wednesday (19:45 GMT), while St Mirren try to pick themselves up for a trip to Dundee United (18:00).

Player of the match

SibbaldCraig Sibbald

with an average of 7.04

Livingston

  1. Squad number10Player nameSibbald
    Average rating

    7.04

  2. Squad number17Player nameRobinson
    Average rating

    6.54

  3. Squad number18Player nameHolt
    Average rating

    6.18

  4. Squad number6Player nameBartley
    Average rating

    6.14

  5. Squad number27Player nameGuthrie
    Average rating

    6.00

  6. Squad number5Player nameFitzwater
    Average rating

    5.72

  7. Squad number32Player nameStryjek
    Average rating

    5.68

  8. Squad number2Player nameDevlin
    Average rating

    5.67

  9. Squad number8Player namePittman
    Average rating

    5.61

  10. Squad number23Player nameLongridge
    Average rating

    5.61

  11. Squad number12Player nameSerrano
    Average rating

    5.60

  12. Squad number14Player nameMullin
    Average rating

    5.49

  13. Squad number20Player nameReilly
    Average rating

    5.43

  14. Squad number25Player nameEfe Ambrose
    Average rating

    5.32

St Mirren

  1. Squad number1Player nameAlnwick
    Average rating

    5.71

  2. Squad number2Player nameTait
    Average rating

    5.03

  3. Squad number5Player nameMcCarthy
    Average rating

    5.00

  4. Squad number25Player nameErhahon
    Average rating

    4.76

  5. Squad number22Player nameFraser
    Average rating

    4.74

  6. Squad number9Player nameObika
    Average rating

    4.58

  7. Squad number20Player nameDennis
    Average rating

    4.55

  8. Squad number17Player nameMcGrath
    Average rating

    4.55

  9. Squad number4Player nameShaughnessy
    Average rating

    4.55

  10. Squad number14Player nameMacPherson
    Average rating

    4.35

  11. Squad number10Player nameMcAllister
    Average rating

    4.33

  12. Squad number11Player nameDurmus
    Average rating

    4.29

  13. Squad number21Player nameConnolly
    Average rating

    4.20

  14. Squad number3Player nameMason
    Average rating

    4.10

  15. Squad number29Player nameBrophy
    Average rating

    2.96

Line-ups

Livingston

Formation 4-5-1

  • 32Stryjek
  • 2Devlin
  • 25Ambrose
  • 27Guthrie
  • 12Serrano
  • 14MullinSubstituted forReillyat 73'minutes
  • 18HoltBooked at 41mins
  • 6Bartley
  • 8PittmanBooked at 64mins
  • 10SibbaldSubstituted forLongridgeat 86'minutes
  • 17RobinsonSubstituted forFitzwaterat 81'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1McCrorie
  • 5Fitzwater
  • 9Emmanuel-Thomas
  • 11Forrest
  • 20Reilly
  • 21McMillan
  • 23Longridge
  • 33Lawson
  • 37Kabia

St Mirren

Formation 4-5-1

  • 1Alnwick
  • 22Fraser
  • 5McCarthy
  • 4Shaughnessy
  • 2Tait
  • 21ConnollyBooked at 52minsSubstituted forMcAllisterat 57'minutes
  • 17McGrath
  • 14MacPhersonSubstituted forObikaat 68'minutesBooked at 76mins
  • 25Erhahon
  • 3MasonSubstituted forDurmusat 68'minutes
  • 29BrophySubstituted forDennisat 81'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Flynn
  • 9Obika
  • 10McAllister
  • 11Durmus
  • 15Finlayson
  • 16Foley
  • 20Dennis
  • 23Erwin
  • 26Lyness
Referee:
David Munro

Match Stats

Home TeamLivingstonAway TeamSt Mirren
Possession
Home44%
Away56%
Shots
Home7
Away7
Shots on Target
Home3
Away2
Corners
Home2
Away6
Fouls
Home15
Away15

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Livingston 1, St. Mirren 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Livingston 1, St. Mirren 0.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Conor McCarthy (St. Mirren).

  4. Post update

    Marvin Bartley (Livingston) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Jonathan Obika (St. Mirren).

  6. Post update

    (Livingston) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  7. Post update

    Ethan Erhahon (St. Mirren) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Gavin Reilly (Livingston).

  9. Post update

    Foul by Joe Shaughnessy (St. Mirren).

  10. Post update

    Marvin Bartley (Livingston) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  11. Post update

    Corner, St. Mirren. Conceded by Max Stryjek.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jonathan Obika (St. Mirren) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left.

  13. Post update

    Conor McCarthy (St. Mirren) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Gavin Reilly (Livingston).

  15. Post update

    Foul by Richard Tait (St. Mirren).

  16. Post update

    Gavin Reilly (Livingston) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Joe Shaughnessy (St. Mirren) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right following a corner.

  18. Post update

    Corner, St. Mirren. Conceded by Efe Ambrose.

  19. Post update

    Jamie McGrath (St. Mirren) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Nicky Devlin (Livingston).

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Hearts440083512
2Raith Rovers42117708
3Inverness CT41214406
4East Fife410356-13
5Cowdenbeath401304-41

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Hibernian4400103712
2Dundee43019459
3Cove Rangers411247-35
4Brora Rangers4022610-42
5Forfar401338-52

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1St Johnstone43101221010
2Dundee Utd42117348
3Peterhead42116518
4Kelty Hearts41124404
5Brechin4004318-150

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Ross County4310125711
2Arbroath43019459
3Elgin420257-26
4Stirling410338-53
5Montrose4013510-51

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Dunfermline440092712
2Falkirk43019369
3Kilmarnock420246-26
4Clyde410369-33
5Dumbarton4004210-80

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Ayr42118538
2Annan Athletic42119457
3Stranraer41306517
4Hamilton42027616
5Albion4013515-102

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1St Mirren422084410
2Queen of Sth41307527
3Partick Thistle412134-17
4Morton41304316
5Queen's Park400417-60

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Livingston44001531212
2Alloa43019549
3Edinburgh City411259-44
4Airdrieonians410337-43
5Stenhousemuir4013412-82
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