Livingston boss Mark Burchill remains defiant his side can still beat the drop despite squandering the opportunity to move off the bottom of the Championship last night.
Goals from Hibs’ Scott Robertson, Jason Cummings and Dominique Malonga condemned the Lions to a 3-1 defeat at the Energy Assets Arena, Livi still three points adrift of Alloa and a further point behind Cowdenbeath with just two games to play.
However, with the Wasps due to visit Easter Road and champions Hearts on their travels to face the Blue Brazil this weekend, all is not lost as Burchill takes his side over the Forth to tackle Raith Rovers on Saturday – a venue where they handsomely won 5-1 in December in what proved to be former manager John McGlynn’s penultimate game in charge.
“We’ve got two games left,” Burchill stressed after last night’s defeat. “I’ve said to the lads they need to forget about it, it’s gone so we move on to Raith Rovers on Saturday. We all know we need to start winning matches but we had a good wee run before last night so the confidence is still there. We firmly believe we can go to Raith and get something and then take it to the last game.”
Burchill was left to rue Cummings’ strike that made it 2-1 after only 15 minutes, Myles Hippolyte having fired a wonderful volley into the top corner just 60 seconds beforehand to restore parity for the home side. However, Livi’s task got even tougher when defender Darren Cole received his marching orders from referee Andrew Dallas for a second bookable offence a minute before the interval.
But it was the decision to award the visitors a second-half penalty, a spot-kick that was subsequently saved by Livi No.1 Darren Jamieson, that really riled former Celtic and Hearts striker Burchill.
“The attitude and the work-rate from the guys was absolutely fantastic, so having to play with ten men was never going to be easy,” he said.
“It’s incredible to lose a goal so quickly after getting back into things. If we could have kept it tight for even five minutes then it would have given us a foothold back in the game. It was a poor goal to lose and I’m still yet to see a side cut us open with a brilliant goal.”
Burchill continued: “The referee told me he’d made a mistake and that it wasn’t a penalty but that’s no good to me. Regardless if you score or not, it gives the other team the momentum. Livingston don’t get penalties, we got one taken off us the other week against Cowdenbeath. It hurts, it really does.
“I would just like a decision to go our way for once. We’re fighting against everything at the bottom of the league so you’re hoping at some point you get the rub of the green.”
Livingston defender and former Hibs player Bradley Donaldson made his first start of the season last night but appreciates just how important this weekend’s clash in Kirkcaldy is.
“It’s an absolutely massive game for the club,” he said. “We know what we have to do so we need to go there full of confidence and get the three points. We can’t afford to have a hangover from the Hibs game.”