Livingston boss John McGlynn insisted it would have been an “injustice” had his side not fought back from two goals down to earn a share of the spoils in their home encounter with Queen of the South.
The visitors, despite being under the cosh for long spells of the second half, were on track to take all three points back to Dumfries after goals from former Lions’ favourite Iain Russell and Gary Reilly had Queens in the ascendency.
But an excellent individual effort from substitute Danny Mullen with less than ten minutes left provided the impetus for Livi to go on and claim a point as Gary Glen bundled the ball over the line with just two minutes left on the clock – much to his manager’s relief.
“You always have to keep believing and I think we were always in the game,” McGlynn stressed. “Both their goals came against the run of play and I think it would have been an injustice if we hadn’t taken something from the game. But when you’re in the position we are in at the moment, sometimes you don’t get those breaks.
“The goals we lost were very cheap but I’ve got to give the players enormous credit to come back from two down with not a lot of time to go. Danny Mullen has come on and scored a tremendous goal and our second was a bit scruffy but nonetheless we got the ball over the line.
“I’m really pleased for the players as we’ve had a hard time of late.”
The first half hour, however, was a drab affair with little action in the final third from either side with only Michael McKenna having any real glimpse of goal as he drove over Alexander Clark’s crossbar.
Keaghan Jacobs benefitted from the break of the ball as he surged into the Queens penalty area and his shot back across goal wasn’t far away from creeping in at the far post.
But just as Livi threatened to take a foothold on the game came the sucker punch as hesitation from ex-Hearts defender Craig Sives was seized upon by Russell, who in turn fed Daniel Carmichael down the right and there from the winger’s deflected shot was Russell, who had continued his run, to head the ball beyond Darren Jamieson for the opener.
Livi’s task could have been far more daunting ahead of the second 45 had it not been for the inspired Jamieson, who produced a fantastic double save firstly from Russell, and then Reilly seconds before referee Kevin Graham brought the first half to an end.
The hosts were quick out of the traps after the interval when Burton O’Brien’s threaded ball through found Glen and his rising shot was expertly tipped over by Clark to preserve Queens narrow lead. Then from the resulting corner, Sives almost made amends as his turn and shot was headed off the line.
Livi were proving far more assertive this half but then from a John Baird cross, Reilly headed in from six yards to leave the hosts with a mountain to climb.
But their resilience was rewarded when Mullen, who had only been on the pitch for six minutes, jinked his way beyond four defenders before rifling the ball high past Clark into the top corner to reduce the deficit.
And then with just two minutes remaining, a long throw in from Myles Hippolyte into the Queens danger area found its way to the back post and there was Glen to bundle it home from just a couple of yards out to salvage a point.
Mullen, who scored Livi’s first league goal since September 13, was pleased to end the drought that had seen the club slip down the table.
He said: “You want to score as much as you can but these things happen in football. We’ve got the goal now so hopefully we can kick on from here.”
Livingston: Jamieson, Sives, Talbot, Fordyce, Kyle Jacobs, Keaghan Jacobs, O’Brien (Robertson 86), McKenna (Hippolyte 61), White, Glen, Rutherford (Mullen 75). Subs: Grant, Mensing, Ogleby, Praprotnik.
Queen of the South: Clark, Dowie, Durnan (Hooper 72), Higgins, Kidd, McShane, Kerr, Carmichael, Baird, Reilly (McKenna 74 (Dzierzawski 82)), Russell. Subs: Arthur, Lyle, Fowler, Kiltie.
Referee: Kevin Graham.