Livingston manager John McGlynn was left ruing defender Jason Talbot’s red card as his side lost 2-1 loss to Motherwell in the Scottish League Cup third round.
The Lions enjoyed plenty of possession during the match, but after falling behind to an early Bob McHugh effort, it was only early in the second period that they began forcing their way through to Gunnar Nielson’s goal.
That resurgence was somewhat quashed when Talbot was sent off for his challenge on Stevie Hammell – and former Scotland star James McFadden made it 2-0 with a wonderful back heel before Danny Denholm scored a late consolation.
McGlynn said: “I thought we equipped ourselves exceptionally well and played some really good football.
“I thought we controlled large chunks of the game. Although we were beaten and we’re disappointed, we feel there are loads and loads of positives to take from it.
“The sending off had a big bearing on the game because I felt we were well in it. I don’t think there was any need to go in as aggressively in that area of the pitch.
“Players get rushes of blood to the head, and it cost us. It’s hard enough playing 11 v 11 against a team of Motherwell’s capability and stature.”
He added: “It’s only the third game I’ve seen from the lads and playing like that I can only see us going in one direction.”
Livi opened the early stages well, but it was the visitors – backed by a big and noisy travelling support – who took the lead.
McHugh met their first corner of the game to turn the ball past Darren Jamieson from close range.
The home side enjoyed plenty of the ball either side of the break, but neither Talbot or Marc McNulty could find the target after creating space for efforts edge of the box.
Livi’s best chance to level came just before the hour as Callum Fordyce’s cross was narrowly headed wide by Andy Barrowman.
And just minutes later, Brian Colvin sent Talbot packing for his lunge on Hammell.
Motherwell made their hosts pay, as a ball in from the right was flicked in brilliantly by McFadden – who until then had been largely anonymous.
The Lions pulled one back in the last minute as Denholm turned home a corner from the left, but they couldn’t force a late equaliser in stoppage time.