Livingston 1 - 0 Morton

Livingston 1 - Elliot (76)
Morton 0 -

Att: 1733

Morton left Almondvale empty handed after a Calum Elliot wonder goal gave a Leigh-Griffiths-inspired Livingston a 1 - 0 win.

The team line-up followed the recent trend of 10 of the 11 players who played the week before starting with one player inexpilicably dropping out of the squad. This time it was Dominic Shimmin who dropped out and Allan McManus who came in. A change that I believe had a big impact on the game.

The first-half was a bit dull. I struggled to recall any memorable action from the first-half so I turned to the News Of The World, Sunday Mail and official Livingston website match report to jog my memory but they all basically said that the opening forty-five was a dreary affair. Howver, there was one non-football related incident that was controversial - a tussle between Kevin Finlayson and Calum Elliot. The clash happened at the opposite side of the pitch to the Morton support do it wasn't immediately clear what happened but it did look as if Finlayson aimed a kick at Elliot. There seemed to be a consensus that Finlayson was lucky to escape with a booking - thus avoiding another red card at Almondvale after his dismissal in the 6-1 defeat there last season - and this was confirmed by Livi manager Roberto Landi. Landi was honest in his assessment of the incident and suggested that both players should have walked: "I am happy the referee understood the moment but for me it was a red card. Both players should have been sent off, for sure."

From the Morton perspective it was quite a satisfying first half. We battled hard, defended reasonably well and restricted Livingston to few chances. You also have to remember that in eight previous visits to Almondvale we have lost eight out of eight conceding 19 goals in the process. In our two visits last season we lost 6-1 and 4-0. If the second half was anything like the first we could escape from West Lothian with our first ever point.

The second half was nothing like the first. It was open, end-to-end and full of goal scoring chances. Unfortunately the most important difference was the introduction of Livingston's Leigh Griffiths as a half-time substitute. The Scotland under-19 internationalist's pace and direct style gave the Livingston attack a new impetus - something that Chris Smith and McManus really struggled to deal with.

The first clear cut chance, and Morton's best, fell to James Grady in the 63rd minute. An excellent long ball by Chris Smith picked out the onrushing Kevin Finlayson. The right-midfielder should have done better but his unconvincing volley, which I think was an attempt at goal, ran across the face of goal where Grady had characteristically popped up to finish and make it one nil. Only he didn't. He somehow managed to put the ball wide of what appeared to be an open goal. It was a missed chance that you just knew we'd rue later on.

The game was getting stretched and both team were creating good chances on the counter. A Morton attack was quickly turned into a Livi attack when a great pass by Murray Davidson released Jason Talbot on the left. The Livi left-back strode forward and smashed a stunning long ranger off the junction of bar and post at Cuthbert's near post.

The next chance was created and executed by Peter Weatherson. He picked the ball up wide on the Morton right. He moved forward and, in a move reminiscent of a goal he scored against Dunfermline at East End Park last season, feinted past one defender before chipping Roddy McKenzie in the Livingston goal. This time the ball landed on the roof of the net rather than in it.

Griffiths' pace was giving the Morton defence - Smith and McManus in particular - a torrid time. He was creating havoc; he a had a couple of efforts blocked, almost rounded Cuthbert (but the Ton keeper did well to push him too far wide) and was involved as McManus cleared one off the line. However he did have a telling impact when his run and pass ended with Calum Elliot volleying a spectacular left footed effort into Cuthbert's top right hand corner from around 20 yards. A goal worthy of winning any match.

Morton had a couple of penalty shouts turned down. One of which looked a stone waller to me. Iain Russell pushed the ball past a defender on the touchline and was tripped in the process of going past the defender. However, the far side linesman, who was running the line right in front of the Morton support and who had an excellent view astonished everyone when he failed to flag. Livingston were then given a free-kick in the spot Russell fell. I can only assume the verdict was that Russell had dived.

Our record at Almondvale is now: played eight, won 0, drew 0, lost 8, scored 3, conceded 20.

I wasn't overly disappointed with this performance as we were beaten by a moment of true class and had a couple of chances of our own but if we are to survive I think we have to be looking to take a point from a game like this. A poor result against Queen Of The South next week and I think Davie Irons might be back to square one.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Cuthbert - 8
2. MacGregor - 5
3. Smith - 7
4. McManus - 7
5. Greacen (c) - 7
6. Jenkins - 7
7. Finlayson - 6 (12. Russell - 80 mins)
8. McGuffie - 6 (15. Paartalu - 83 mins)
9. Weatherson - 6
10. Grady - 7 (14. Wake - 86 mins)
11. McAlister - 5

Subs Not Used:

16. Masterton
20. Stewart

Booked: MacGregor, Jenkins, Finlayson, Russell

*BBC match report has a few mistakes: it has Wake as an unused sub (he was used) and doesn't have bookings for MacGregor or Russell.

MacGregor Greacen McManus Smith
Finlayson McGuffie Jenkins McAlister
Weatherson Grady

Livingston: McKenzie, MacKay, Talbot, McPake, Fox, Innes, McParland (Griffiths 46), Davidson, Elliot, Miller (Quinn 52), Hamill

Subs Not Used: Cave, McDonald, Martini

Booked: Elliot.

My man of the match: Leigh Griffiths (Livingston)

Sponsor's man of the match: Leigh Griffiths (Livingston)

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Official Teamsheet(Click to enlarge)

livingstonfc.co.uk - match highlights

Greenock Telegraph match report

Greenock Telegraph - match reaction

BBC match report

Sunday Mail match report

livingstonfc.co.uk - match report

livingstonfc.co.uk - match reaction

Tontastic pictures

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