Livingston’s excellent display brought little reward last night as they were knocked out of the Scottish League Cup at the expense of Premiership outfit Inverness.
First-half goals from Miles Storey and Daniel Devine sealed the Highlanders spot in next month’s quarter-finals.
For long spells Livi more than matched their top-flight opponents in almost every department, but were found wanting when the chances in front of goal did come their way.
However, manager Mark Burchill was more than content with what he saw from the sidelines. “I’m so disappointed with the goals we gave away, but I thought we were the better side and caused them a lot of problems,” he said.
Storey almost gave the Scottish Cup holders the perfect start inside four minutes, breaking free of the Livi defence to angle a shot towards the far corner of Darren Jamieson’s goal which the goalkeeper did brilliantly to tip round the post.
However, the visitors did capitalise on their superior start eight minutes later but had home defender Morgyn Neill to thank as the 19-year-old gifted them the opener.
A long ball delivered into the Livi rearguard looked, at first glance, problem-free but Neill’s intended header back to Jamieson fell woefully short and Storey nipped in to score despite initially stumbling on the ball.
Despite the setback, the loss of an early goal appeared to galvanise the hosts with an array of chances soon falling their way. Firstly, an angled header from Jordan White missed the target and then Jordyn Sheerin’s had an initial effort in the box blocked before his second attempt was blasted over the bar.
Then Owain Fon Williams produced the save of the match with a terrific one-handed block to keep out a Gary Glen header from six yards.
The sucker punch arrived two minutes from the interval, though, when despite having threatened to equalise on numerous occasions, Inverness doubled their advantage. Devine rose above Darren Cole to power home into the far corner from a tight angle.
A fairly uneventful second period was epitomised when Inverness substitute Andrea Mutombo cracked the post late on when it seemed easier to score.
Livingston: Jamieson, Millen, Gallagher, Neill, Longridge, Glen (Currie 83), Pittman, Cole, Hippolyte (Georgiev 74), Sheerin, White (Buchanan 74). Subs: Gould, Gordon, Faria, Gibbons.
Inverness CT: Fon Williams, Raven, Devine (Lopez 86), Meeking, Tremarco (Polworth 76), Tansey, Draper, Vincent, Williams, Christie, Storey (Mutombo 86). Subs: Esson, Foran, Wedderburn, Horner.
Referee: Alan Muir