CRAIG BARR has plenty of experience of playing in the First Division and SPL with Queen of the South and Gretna, and the Livingston defender insists Gary Bollan’s side could be sitting higher up the First Division table if they took their chances.
After drawing 1-1 at home to Greenock Morton on Saturday in what was the newly promoted team’s seventh draw in ten league games, the centre back says cutting out the odd defensive mistake and showing a sharper edge up front is necessary for the Lions.
“It’s a little bit frustrating, we’ve had so many draws week after week and we’ve got to start looking to turn them into three points. On Saturday we maybe didn’t deserve the three points as much as we have done previous weeks, but we certainly had the chances to take them.
“We’ve got to cut out the mistakes we’re making defensively. The Morton goal is really frustrating, but if you’re going up to a better league you’re going to get punished like we maybe weren’t last season, and we’re drawing games that last season we’d have easily been winning.
“It would be worse if we weren’t creating the chances. Obviously to create the chances and miss isn’t ideal, but at least we’re getting in the right areas.
“It’s not so much that we maybe deserved the three points, but after a combination of the last few weeks we feel like we could be higher up in the table.”
Morton were by far the better team in the opening stages, but it was Livi who had the first chance as a Mark Fotheringham free-kick was nodded wide by Barr.
The visitors responded by taking the lead. Fouad Bachirou fed David O’Brien, and he crashed the ball in off the crossbar from the edge of the box to give his side a deserved advantage.
Morton keeper Matt McGinley repelled a couple of Fotheringham free-kicks before the home side carved open the Morton defence to equalise. Iain Russell and Stefan Scougall combined to send Marc McNulty through one-on-one with McGinley and he was floored by a sprawling challenge from the keeper.
Russell stepped up to force the penalty into the bottom corner via the keeper’s gloves against his former side.
The goal seemed to spark life into a so far lethargic Livi team, and the increased pace with which they moved the ball across the pitch led to them more frequently penetrating the Morton back line. That momentum was scuppered by the half-time break, however, and Morton had the chances early in the second half. Andy McNeil pulled off a stunning block from O’Brien, while Paul Di Giacomo and Kevin McCann both found only the stand when presented with chances to retake the lead.
As the game raced to its conclusion, the Lions rediscovered their attacking impetus, with Keaghan Jacobs and Russell teeing up McNulty eight yards out – but despite beating McGinley, Stewart McCaffrey got back to scoop the ball off the line. Jacobs then his effort from 20 yards clip the post and go wide, before Bobby Barr did brilliantly to work space in the box, but squared the ball rather than taking on a shot.
In stoppage time, McNeil stopped the visitors from snatching the victory. From a corner he found the ball spiralling towards his own goal off a Livi defender’s head, but managed to somehow claw the ball round the post and secure a point for Gary Bollan’s men.