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St Johnstone boss Craig Levein rued the cruelty of football after Andrew Shinnie’s last-gasp winner gave already-relegated Livingston a 2-1 win at the Almondvale stadium.

Saints travelled to West Lothian in the cinch Premiership relegation play-off spot but got off to a great start when attacker Adama Sidibeh scored after eight minutes and their energetic opening should have brought more goals.

However, Livi settled and defender Cristian Montano levelled in the 72nd minute from a corner before substitute Shinnie fired in a dramatic winner to sink the Saints.

Ross County’s 5-1 defeat at home to Motherwell keeps the Staggies in 10th place, two points ahead of the Perth side ahead of their meeting at McDiarmid Park on Wednesday night, with only one fixture remaining after that.

Levein said: “We have been searching for a really good performance for a wee while and we got that today.

“But football is cruel sometimes and we didn’t get from the game what we deserved.

“When things are going against you at times this is what happens.

“If we’d have been four or five up at half-time it would have been a fair reflection.

“But we weren’t, we made a couple of mistakes in the second half and were punished.

“They worked really hard, played well and created chances. I’m not going to sit here blaming people for missing chances.

“What we will talk about is, if we replicate that on Wednesday night, we’ll give ourselves a chance to win.

“We conceded two goals so we’ll have to look at them and talk about them.

“I feel for the players, they’re hurting and they’re gutted. But they’re all together and that’s important.

“I don’t think it will be hard to lift them. They’re annoyed because of how much work they put into the game.

“We just have to focus on the things we did well.

“Things didn’t go our way, but it’s about rolling our sleeves up for Wednesday now.”

Livingston boss David Martindale felt the afternoon highlighted the often “irrational” nature of football.

He said: “I think at the start of the game we looked like a team who have just been relegated.

“St Johnstone started like a team fighting for their lives and we were fortunate to be 1-0 down.

“I think we’re fortunate to have won the game 2-1, but that’s football – we have been on the other end of that this season.

“Football can be kind of irrational, kind of illogical at times. The players have to take huge credit.

“(Goalkeeper) Shamal (George) kept us in it for the first 20 minutes. They will be a bit disappointed with their finishing but he made some great saves.”