LIVINGSTON’s fine home record was blown apart by Ross County on Saturday, as the First Division league leaders battled to a deserved 3-0 victory in West Lothian to move nine clear at the top of the table.
Livi defender Paul Watson admitted the Lions were below par for much of the game, but insists the Livi side will pick themselves up before travelling through to face Partick Thistle in Glasgow next week.
In what was a tightly contested match in blustery conditions, both sides reached the break goalless. Livi striker Rory Boulding, however, was sent off after being adjudged to commit a dangerous tackle on County’s Paul Lawson just short of the hour mark, and County took advantage of the extra man with Michael Gardyne and a Colin McMenamin double seeing the points secured.
Watson said: “I thought the first we were poor and didn’t really show up in the game very well, but we were still in it and it was 0-0 at half time.
“We started the second half reasonably well and we were on top. We didn’t control much of the game but at the start of the second half we started to do so a bit more, and got six or seven corners in a row, looked like we were going to score, and then the sending off’s killed it for us.”
He added, “I think Rory was unlucky, he won the ball and it was just unfortunate. After that, they’ve scored and from that point they’ve taken charge of the game. We were dominating the match right after going down to ten men and looked like we were going to score, but once they scored they gained confidence from it and started passing the ball about well.”
There was little goalmouth action in the first 45, with Grant Munro and Scott Boyd both coming close with headers for County, while Craig Barr did likewise at the other end.
Sandwiched in between that, Boulding nearly created something after stumbling past two County defenders out wide, but his chipped cross was tipped over by Michael Fraser in the away goal.
After a first half where Derek Adams’ side held the majority of possession, Livi came out quicker in the second half and Bobby Barr saw his effort float over the bar, before Boulding was shown red by referee Mike Tumilty.
Despite going down to ten men, Livi initially piled on more pressure, forcing six corners in succession, but County soon raced up the pitch to take the lead. The Livi defence didn’t deal with a cross from the left and Gardyne blasted home.
The game was out of sight ten minutes later as ex-Lion McMenamin turned home a Gardyne cross, and then within minutes the striker tucked the ball home after going one on one with Andy McNeil in the Lions’ goal.
County saw out the remainder of the match without difficulty and left Livi to face up to the challenge of Partick Thistle next Saturday – one Watson knows will be difficult.
He said, “Partick came here and dominated the game. They were very lucky and we got a bit of fortune with the great goal from Kyle and the end of that one. But we’ll go there having reorganised in training this week and worked hard to get a result.”