Livingston boss David Hopkin hailed the impact of midfielder Charlie Telfer as the Lions eased their automatic relegation fears with a 3-1 victory over bottom club Alloa.
The West Lothian outfit are now seven points clear of the Wasps after a deserved three points in Clackmannanshire. Jackson Longridge, Jordan White and Sam Stanton all chipped in with Livi’s first-half goals en route to just their fifth win in the Championship this season.
Billed as a real six-pointer prior to kick off, the home side were second best all afternoon to Hopkin’s men who never looked in any danger despite Michael Duffy’s effort offering some hope after a sloppy start.
But it was on loan Dundee United playmaker Telfer, who was making his first start for the club since joining last month, that really caught the eye of his manager.
“Charlie brought that real bit of quality to the team out there. I decided to go with a bit more of an attacking threat with Charlie, Sam, Danny [Mullen] and Jordan but we knew it was going to be a tough game. I thought we were comfortable inside the opening 20 minutes but we then gave away a sloppy goal.
“Ever since I took over I’ve always been looking to catch the team above us so we need to keep going now.”
White almost netted the opener inside five minutes with a crashing volley that went just wide of Scott Gallacher’s left-hand post.
But Livi’s early pressure paid off in the 11th minute as Telfer managed to find full-back Longridge inside the box and the former Stranraer man duly finished into the bottom right corner.
White doubled his side’s lead just three minutes later, knocking in Telfer’s ball across goal from just a couple of yards after a lapse in the Wasps defence.
However, Duffy capitalised on an error from goalkeeper Marc McCallum, who spilled Mitch Megginson’s initial effort, to hand Alloa a route back into the game.
The visitors, though, restored their two-goal advantage six minutes before the interval when great link-up play from Telfer and Mullen allowed on loan Hibs midfielder Stanton to curl an effort into Gallacher’s bottom right-hand corner from 12 yards.
The visitors couldn’t add to their lead after the interval but had the better opportunities through substitute Liam Buchanan and a White header that hit the bar.
Alloa: Gallacher, Hill, Hamilton (Flannigan 60), Marr, McManus, Caddis (Crawford 74), O’Brien, Finnie (McAusland 46), Duffy, Megginson, Hetherington. Subs: Crawford, Reintam, Holmes, Ferns.
Livingston: McCallum, Halkett, Cole, Gordon, Longridge, Kakay (Currie 82), Telfer, Fotheringham, Stanton, Mullen (Buchanan 66), White (Pittman 72). Subs: Quinn, Neill, Mullin, Sheerin.
Referee: Craig Charleston