Livingston will keep fighting to avoid play-offs

Manager David Hopkin still has faith that Livingston can avoid the drop. Pic: TSPL

Manager David Hopkin still has faith that Livingston can avoid the drop. Pic: TSPL

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Livingston may now be firm favourites to finish second-bottom of the Ladbrokes Championship following Saturday’s 2-1 defeat by Morton but Lions manager David Hopkin insists his side won’t give up the fight.

The West Lothian side trail eighth-placed Dumbarton by two points in the race to escape the relegation play-offs, with the Sons having two games in hand over them. Livingston have three games remaining – a trip to Queen of the South followed by back-to-back home matches against Rangers and Raith Rovers.

Just like against Hibs last Tuesday, Livi took the lead through Jordan White and led at the break, only to be pegged back in the second-half by virtue of Denny Johnstone’s penalty. Thomas O’Ware netted the winner.

Despite this defeat though, Hopkin is adamant his players will battle until the end.

“Anybody who watches us will know we’ll keep going,” he said. “We’re disappointed but we’ve got to look at the positives from the game. We played well, created loads of chances and the game should have been out of sight.

Morton started the brighter at Cappielow and Livi keeper Marc McCallum had to be sharp to deny Michael Miller from 20 yards, then Johnstone’s flick into the path of Joe McKee brought the hosts closer as the midfielder rattled the crossbar from 20 yards.

Livingston responded and terrific solo play from Charlie Telfer on the byeline then set up Liam Buchanan. He seemed destined to score from eight yards but somehow Derek Gaston got a foot on the ball to deflect it over.

However, the Lions did grab the initiative on 33 minutes. Some fine individual play from Sam Stanton set up White to lash the ball home from four yards as they went in 1-0 up at the interval.

Livi shot themselves in the foot just six minutes into the second half, however, when Darren Cole foolishly brought down Alex Samuel. Johnstone made no mistake from the spot.

The visitors could have had a penalty of their own when Buchanan went down under a similar challenge in the Morton box, but referee John McKendrick waved play on.

O’Ware then rose to head home the winner eight minutes from time from a McKee corner. White scored with a header from a Scott Pittman cross but the goal was ruled out for offside.

“The two goals we conceded were poor,” lamented Hopkin. “We were winning and then all of a sudden we’re back to getting beat again.”

Morton: Gaston, Miller, O’Ware, Russell, Gasparotto, Barr (Lamie 86), McMullen (Quitongo 80), Forbes, McKee, Samuel (McDonald 86), Johnstone. Subs: McNeil, Kilday, Langan.

Livingston: McCallum, Halkett, Cole, Gordon (Neill 13), Longridge, Pittman, Fotheringham (Sheerin 85), Stanton, White, Telfer (Knox 76), Buchanan. Subs: Jamieson, Mullin, Currie, Kakay.

Referee: J McKendrick

Attendance: 1463