Supersub Hippolyte proves Myles better for Livingston

Myles Hippolyte fires in the winner.
Myles Hippolyte fires in the winner.
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Striker Myles Hippolyte was delighted to continue his “fantastic” scoring record as he once again stepped off the substitutes’ bench to fire Livingston into the Petrofac Training Cup semi-finals.

The Lions were made to fight to the end of extra time against League One outfit Peterhead at Balmoor before the 19-year-old Londoner struck an angled shot into the far corner with just seven minutes remaining.

The former Brentford player has now netted three Challenge Cup goals in as many rounds, on target in the emphatic second-round 4-1 victory over Hearts as well as the narrow win over Queen of the South in this season’s opener – all as a second-half substitute.

The teenager, though, insisted he isn’t about to demand a starting berth from manager John McGlynn despite his latest heroics.

“My scoring record in cup competitions, even at youth level, was fantastic,” Hippolyte stressed. “Coming on and scoring every time in this cup has been great but, at the same time, I would love to start. However, it’s the gaffer’s decision and I’m behind him with whatever he chooses. I have to respect that.

“I feel the gaffer is right though in why he’s not playing me from the start at the moment because my defensive side of the game needs to pick up. But I’m still young and I’ve got time to learn.”

Hippolyte also revealed that Saturday’s trip north was very much a journey into the unknown.

“I’d never heard of Peterhead before,” he was honest enough to admit. “Being from London it’s the first time I’ve come across it but it’s a nice place being next to the sea. It seems like a good spot to come back as a retreat.

“I don’t like to know anything generally about the teams we come up against – league position or whatever – I just want to play with a clear mind, even against the bigger teams. That’s just the way I am.”

It appeared the club’s decision to travel north on Friday would be vindicated early on, the visitors looking lively and dominating possession in the opposition’s half. But, similarly to last weekend’s defeat at Dumbarton in the Championship, Livi passed up chance after chance in the opening 45 minutes with Gary Glen, Jordan White and Keaghan Jacobs all guilty of missing the target.

A Keaghan Jacobs corner after the interval then brought mayhem to the Peterhead rearguard as goalkeeper Graeme Smith fumbled his intended catch, but defender Callum Fordyce failed to capitalise as he knocked the ball wide.

Former Dundee United midfielder David Robertson brought out a terrific one-hand stop from Smith, who turned his net-bound effort round the post as the visitors continued to press for the opener before Michael McKenna again forced Smith into another fine block as referee Brian Colvin whistled to bring a frustrating 90 minutes to an end for McGlynn’s men.

The hosts’ Jamie Redman then almost stole in at the back post in the first half of extra time but former Hearts defender Craig Sives was there to clear the ball off the line.

But then Hippolyte found space from a Keaghan Jacobs pass and his right-footed shot from 16 yards went across Smith and into the far corner of the net to send the small band of Livi supporters into raptures.

Player/assistant manager Mark Burchill should have added some gloss to the scoreline just moments later, but a poor finish let him down as Smith gathered with ease.

Peterhead substitute Andy Rodgers allowed his temper to get the better of him in the final minute and was shown a straight red card for foul and abusive language.

McGlynn concurs his players need to be more ruthless in front of goal but reinforced his belief that the club are moving in the right direction.

“The main thing is getting there in the end,” he pointed out. “It’s the second week in a row where we’ve dominated the first half with loads of chances but failed to take them. As the game wore on it became more even but we’re pleased to get through.It is very pleasing to be in the last four. I don’t know the last time Livingston were in a tournament this far so we’re delighted to be in the semi-final.”

Peterhead: Smith, Sharp, Noble, Donaldson, Ross, Strachan (Rodgers 65), Brown (Cox 55), Redman, McAllister (Gilfillan 74), Stevenson, Cowie. Subs: Jarvie, Smith, Richardson, McCann.

Livingston: Jamieson, Sives, Talbot, Fordyce, Kyle Jacobs, Keaghan Jacobs, O’Brien, Robertson (Burchill 80), McKenna (Ogleby 104), White, Glen (Hippolyte 80). Subs: Grant, Beaumont, Mullen, Rutherford.

Referee: Brian Colvin.