LIVINGSTON boss Gary Bollan was “hugely disappointed and frustrated” as he watched his Lions side crash out of the William Hill Scottish Cup in the fourth round on Saturday, as Ayr United ran out 2-1 winners in West Lothian.
Striker Marc McNulty knocked the ball wide when one-on-one with Kevin Cuthbert after just 20 seconds and Livi failed to take advantage of their early dominance, which ultimately cost them as Andy Geggan and Michael McGowan scored either side of a McNulty equaliser. Livi flew out of the traps and should have gone in front in the first minute when Iain Russell set up McNulty with both strikers were bearing down on goal, but his flick over Cuthbert went wide of the post.
Bollan, who felt Livi might have had a penalty in the closing stages of the match, said. “If we convert the chance in the first minute then it makes it a different game. With Iain Russell being out for so long he maybe felt his sharpness wasn’t there, but Iain on the top of his game would’ve put that one away rather than pass to Marc.”
Kyle Jacobs then headed wide, before Paul Watson had a bulleted header from a corner brilliantly turned over by Cuthbert. McNulty and Keaghan Jacobs were then denied in the box after the former had his shot parried by Cuthbert and the latter saw his drive from a McNulty cross blocked on the line.
Ayr took the lead on 39 minutes. Andy McNeil did well to deflect the ball away from goal after a deep cross to the back post, but Geggan smashed home from close range. The Lions were level within four minutes. Russell teed up McNulty in the six-yard box and the young striker coolly slotted home.
After the break Russell saw a fierce shot beaten away by Cuthbert before Ayr regained the lead on 52 minutes. McGowan went on a mazy run down the right wing before lashing the ball into the roof of the net from a seemingly impossible angle.
Then with five minutes to go Russell was sent sprawling in the box under a Cuthbert challenge, but referee George Salmond waved play on. Bollan added: “The referee and the assistant have only had one chance to look at it, from where we were it looked a stonewall penalty. I didn’t see the goalkeeper getting any contact on the ball.”