After watching his side gift both goals in Tuesday night’s League Cup third-round defeat by Inverness, Livingston boss Mark Burchill has called on his players to eliminate the silly mistakes from their game.
To add to his frustrations, the Lions more than matched the Highlanders for long spells but were left to rue individual errors which, ultimately, scuppered any hopes of a potential money-spinning tie in the last eight of the competition.
Defender Morgyn Neill’s intended header back to goalkeeper Darren Jamieson fell well short and Miles Storey nipped in to score the opener after 12 minutes before Danny Devine climbed above a static defence to angle a header into the far corner two minutes shy of the interval.
That left Livi with a mountain to climb in the second half and, despite a valiant effort, it is John Hughes’ side who will learn their quarter-final fate in Monday afternoon’s draw.
Nevertheless, it’s back to league duty tomorrow with a trip to Clackmannanshire to tackle Danny Lennon’s Alloa, a game already being billed as a potential six-pointer given the form of both sides.
The Wasps are three points ahead of Livi in ninth and have won just one of their opening seven matches this season.
The Lions, on the other hand, have yet to register victory in the Championship and have amassed just a solitary point so far – a 1-1 draw with St Mirren in Paisley last month. But it is the manner in which his side are conceding that has really irked Burchill.
“I’ve spoken to the players on loads of occasions about giving goals away to teams,” Burchill said of the recent mistakes.
“You need to make teams score goals against you and not give them away like we’ve been doing.
“I felt bad for big Morgyn on Tuesday because he’s played fantastically well in the last two games [against Rangers and Hibs] and I’d said to him you’re in the team because you’re a no-nonsense defender – you kick it, you head it, people don’t like playing against you. But he’s 19-years-old, he’s thought ‘I can be quite cool here and look good’.
“But it’s something we’ve spoken about at length, especially after the Morton game when Deccy [Declan Gallagher] passed one back to DJ [Darren Jamieson] and we gifted another goal to the opposing team.
“We have to cut them out if we going to improve our results.”
Burchill accepts his players must start picking up points soon or run the risk of being cut off at the foot of the division.
With another away trip to Dumbarton next Saturday, Burchill has identified the club’s next two matches as a prime opportunity to get their season up and running.
“It’s three defeats in a row now where we haven’t scored a goal so that’s not good,” he said. “You’ve got to score when you’ve got other teams on the ropes and we certainly had a good couple of chances the other night against Inverness.
“We can’t get into the situation where we think ‘we’re doing pretty well but we’re getting beat’. It’s unacceptable. Football is about results and we need to start winning matches.
“We’ve got two massive games coming up against Alloa and Dumbarton, probably must-wins so we need to get points on the board and start getting ourselves up this league.
“We’ve had three difficult games against Rangers, Hibs and Inverness so I’m disappointed because we have played pretty well in big parts, but it’s still three defeats and that’s how I look at it.
“We need the performance and the result together, simple as that. Alloa are three points ahead of us so we need to be level on points with them come 5pm tomorrow. That’s the only thing we’ve spoken about in the dressing room so the players must be ready.”
One individual who has suitably impressed Burchill this season and was rewarded with his professional debut on Tuesday night was 17-year-old Ryan Currie.
Burchill indicated the player, who replaced Gary Glen in the 83rd minute is ready to make the grade despite his inexperience at first-team level.
“I don’t want to throw a young guy in but if we’d been in a better position in the league then he would have played more,” he said. “So we have to be careful but he’s a very good player and has a real chance.
“He’s been training very well, he can play right or left midfield, even full-back. But we don’t want to put him under any real pressure so we need to win a couple of games first before we can put him in the team.”
Livi will welcome back midfielder Danny Mullen tomorrow after the player served a two-match suspension for being sent off in last month’s League Cup win over St Mirren.