Livingston boss John McGlynn believes his side’s 5-1 demolishing of former club Raith Rovers has issued a statement of intent to their rival basement battlers.
The club’s impressive win in Kirkcaldy, coupled with nearest challengers Cowdenbeath’s narrow defeat at Ibrox as well as Alloa’s home loss to Dumbarton, has given the Lions some renewed optimism that they can, against the odds, fend off the threat of relegation.
Following the club’s five-point deduction two weeks ago, Livi have now cut the gap on the Blue Brazil to just four points ahead of a busy festive period and McGlynn reckons a warning has now been sent out around the division.
“It was the first game we’ve had since the points deduction and was a day to try and make a statement that we’re well up for it,” McGlynn explained. “We want to try and claw these points back as quickly as we can. We’ve got 21 games to try and finish eighth and that’s our aim. We’re now three points closer to Cowdenbeath and Alloa so it’s game on as far as we’re concerned. It is only a starting point and we need to pick up more points, but we’re up for the battle.”
It was the West Lothian club’s first three points in the league since the middle of September and McGlynn is hoping some confidence has, at last, been restored.
He said: “Winning football matches breeds confidence and that’s what we’ve been lacking because we haven’t been winning. It was great to see the players smiling after the match because it’s been a long time coming. Monday mornings have been difficult because you hurt all weekend so it’s nice to see and my face won’t be so crabbit either!”
Lady luck was certainly on the visitors’ side – Raith reduced to ten men in the second minute after Ross Perry hauled down player/assistant manager Mark Burchill in the area and Jordan White, without a goal to his name in 12 matches, showed good composure in tucking away the resulting spot-kick.
It was the correct decision from referee Crawford Allan despite the chorus of boos from the home contingent as Livi went in search of a second.
With their tails up, the Lions seized the opportunity that came their way and doubled their advantage midway through the first half when Burchill headed in a Callum Fordyce cross from close range.
Livi continued to attack at will and terrific link-up play between White, Burchill and Gary Glen carved out the chance for Danny Mullen, but he scuffed his effort wide of the target.
However, the small band of supporters that had made the journey from West Lothian were in dreamland a minute before the break when Glen broke free to finish off White’s neat pass for number three of the afternoon.
Despite Grant Anderson netting seconds before the interval to give the home support some thinking to do over their half-time refreshments, as well as some early Rovers pressure in the second half, McGlynn’s men thoroughly deserved all three points.
Further efforts from Danny Mullen and substitute Michael McKenna added a real gloss to the scoreline where goal difference may just have a part to play come the end of the season.
McGlynn added that it was pleasing to see his side finally get the rub of the green.
He said: “We’ve had a lot of bad luck so it’s about time we got a bit of luck ourselves. It was a great start though. It was obviously a massive double blow for Rovers and to play for pretty much 90 minutes with ten men is a long time.
“I thought we executed our goals very well, which is pleasing. We have been playing fairly well without getting the results, so it’s pleasing to put some end product to the opportunities that we created. It did get nervy at the start of the second half, but we settled down and were professional.”
Raith Rovers: McGurn, Thomson, Perry, Watson, Anderson, Moon (Conroy 76), Stewart (Hill 5 Elliot 82), Callachan, McKay, McKeown, Nade. Subs: Laidlaw, Vaughan, Robertson, Matthews.
Livingston: Jamieson, Mensing, Fordyce, Kyle Jacobs (Beaumont 11), Keaghan Jacobs, Gallagher, White, Glen (McKenna 76), Mullen, Burchill (Ogleby 66), Rutherford. Subs: Grant, Sives, Hippolyte, Praprotnik.
Referee: Crawford Allan