Livingston boss David Hopkin believes Lawrence Shankland’s audacious winner for St Mirren was preventable during Saturday’s five-goal Championship thriller in West Lothian.
The on-loan Aberdeen striker won the match for the visitors in the second half with a blistering volley from 25 yards that left Lions goalkeeper Marc McCallum rooted to the spot.
But, despite admitting it took an incredible piece of skill to seal the points for the Paisley outfit after goals from Liam Buchanan and Jordan White had twice hauled Livi level, Hopkin believes the youngster should never have been allowed to get his shot away in the first place.
The same player had earlier produced a similar effort to put Alex Rae’s men 2-1 up at the interval.
“It was an exceptional finish from Shankland but it should have been stopped at the source,” Hopkin stressed. “I spoke to the players before the game and told them don’t get close to him. He uses his body well, rolls you and he’s put it in the top corner. Darren Cole has done it for the first one and then Morgyn [Neill] has done the same thing for the second one.
“It’s a hard one to take. We’ve given three goals away and it’s not like us to do that. I’m disappointed because I didn’t think we deserved to get beat.”
Cole’s clumsy challenge on Calum Gallagher allowed Stephen Mallan to net the opener from the penalty spot after 15 minutes but Saints’ lead was short lived as Buchanan brushed off Gary Irvine to draw the hosts level just a minute later.
Shankland then notched his first ten minutes before the break to restore the visitors’ lead with a dipping volley from 20 yards.
Livi drew level for a second time eight minutes after the restart when White bundled home a Sam Stanton effort after the on-loan Hibs midfielder’s strike had come back off Jamie Langfield’s left-hand post.
Despite Livi looking the more likely to grind out a winner, Shankland then found space and was allowed time to control the ball on his chest before unleashing a swerving volley into the top left corner.
Livingston: McCallum, Halkett, Cole (Neill 67), Gordon, Kakay (Sheerin 74), Mullin (Mullen 82), Fotheringham, Stanton, White, Telfer, Buchanan. Subs: Quinn, Currie, Pittman, Knox.
St Mirren: Langfield, Watson, Baird, Webster, Irvine, Gallagher, Mallan, Agnew (Carswell 62), Cooper (Gow 72), Shankland, Clarkson (Thompson 76). Subs: Wilks, Goodwin, Howieson, Stewart.
Referee: Crawford Allan