Livingston claw their way off foot of table

Darren Jamieson saves from Falkirk's Alex Cooper. Picture: SNS
Darren Jamieson saves from Falkirk's Alex Cooper. Picture: SNS
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It may not have brought the three points Livingston boss John McGlynn sought after, but last night’s stalemate at the Falkirk Stadium lifted the Lions off the bottom of the Championship.

Four consecutive defeats had left Livi in a perilous position and without a point since they tore Alloa apart on home soil almost six weeks ago.

However, after last night’s goalless encounter with the Bairns moved the club up to eighth spot in the table, McGlynn is hoping his players can build on a well-earned point ahead of this weekend’s visit of Queen of the South.

“It’s a wee platform to build on as we’re off the bottom of the table,” he said. “It’s also a clean sheet which we’ve not had since the Alloa game – we’ve had a few games where we’ve lost a number of goals – so from that point of view I’m delighted. It also stops the rot. It’s a difficult place to come so we had to work really hard. Falkirk had a lot of the ball and put us under a lot of pressure but you’ve got to defend well so I’m pleased about that.”

If goalkeeper Darren Jamieson was at fault for Hibs’ opener in Livi’s 4-0 defeat last Saturday, then he more than atoned for his error with a string of impressive saves to deny a young Falkirk side who are also struggling for consistency.

The Livi No. 1 was quick off the mark to deny a stinging shot from Blair Alston inside 30 seconds before a terrific double block thwarted the efforts of both Alex Cooper and former Hearts winger David Smith.

The 23-year-old also stepped up to the mark after the interval, standing tall to prevent striker Rory Loy who had cut through the visitors’ defence from the angle of the box and it was a performance that didn’t go unnoticed by his manager.

“Our goalkeeper has made some really good saves for us,” McGlynn pointed out, “but that’s what he’s there for. We had to rely on DJ a few times but that’s what he’s paid to do. If he doesn’t make those saves then they’re not goalkeepers.”

Livingston frontman Jordan White remains without a goal since he netted a hat-trick in the 4-0 win over the Wasps last month, a spree that lifted him to the summit of the league’s scoring charts with an impressive figure of five.

And it was the former Stirling Albion player who was first to test former Jambos ’keeper Jamie MacDonald from the edge of the area after a neat interchange involving Gary Glen and Rob Ogleby.

Livi were deprived much in the way of chances within the opening 45 but did carry a greater threat going forward after the break, Michael McKenna driving wide from the angle before White was a fraction away from getting on the end of a pinpoint Glen cross. Despite some late pressure from the hosts, the Livi rearguard stood up to the challenge to take an important point back to West Lothian.

Asked whether his side’s run of five consecutive league games without a goal is beginning to play on his mind, McGlynn added: “It goes hand in hand that. We’ve not lost goals so we’re taking the positives from that. We’ve been on a bad run but we’ve had a lot of hard games so we’ll take some confidence from this one. I think the goals will come.”

White is another within the Livi dressing room unfazed by the lack of activity in front of goal and stresses picking up points is more of a concern. He does, however, accept he needs to get back on the scoring trail.

“You get confidence from keeping clean sheets so the goals will come,” the striker said. “We had a couple of half chances but on another day they’ll go in so I’m not personally worried about it. I’ve not scored in the last few games but as a striker you just need to take it on the chin and move on from that because you know you’re going to get chances and it will come. It’s more important getting points on the board.”

Falkirk: MacDonald, Maybury, McCracken, Grant, Leahy, Vaulks, Sibbald (Biabi 68), Alston, Cooper (Shepherd 78), Smith, Loy. Subs: Bowman, Shaughnessy, Taiwo, Blair, McGeever.

Livingston: Jamieson, Sives (Robertson 60), Talbot, Fordyce, Kyle Jacobs, O’Brien, Ogleby (Hippolyte 72), McKenna, White, Glen (Mullen 89), Rutherford. Subs: Grant, Mensing, Praprotnik, Beaumont.

Referee: Andrew Dallas

Attendance: 3021