fbpx Skip to main content

Livingston kept their hopes of a cinch Premiership top-six finish alive with a 2-0 victory over St Johnstone.

First-half goals from Joel Nouble and Steven Kelly, who scored a stunning free-kick, handed the West Lothian side only their second win from eight league matches.

The result leaves seventh-place Livingston one and two points adrift of Hibernian and St Mirren respectively ahead of the final pre-split fixture next weekend.

Saints, who improved after the break, remain only four points clear of the relegation zone.

Livingston knew they needed a victory to keep their top six-bid alive after Hibs, who also have a vastly superior goal difference, opened up a four-point lead in sixth place with victory against Hearts in the lunchtime kick-off.

In front of a larger than normal crowd at the Tony Macaroni Arena following a ticket giveaway to local children, the Lions started well.

There were only three minutes on the clock when Steven Bradley got goal-side of the Saints rearguard from a Morgan Boyes pass but his tame left-footed effort went wide of the post.

Nouble’s attempted chip over Remi Matthews was then gathered by the visiting goalkeeper before Bradley’s pass across goal, having got round Matthews, came to nothing.

Saints’ first sight of goal came in the 11th minute when Jamie Murphy dug out a cross from the left but Connor McLennan’s header was comfortably saved by Shamal George.

And it was Livingston who went ahead after 23 minutes through Nouble.

Bruce Anderson did well to create space and feed his team-mate and Nouble kept Drew Wright at arm’s length before curling a shot beyond Matthews from 18 yards.

The offside flag denied Livingston a second just after the half-hour mark when Bradley tapped in Anderson’s pass.

David Martindale’s side, however, doubled their lead in the 38th minute with an exquisite free-kick from Kelly.

Cammy MacPherson was penalised for fouling Anderson just outside the area and Kelly swept an effort high into the net the post.

Saints brought on Graham Carey at the break and the playmaker missed a great chance to halve the visitor’s arrears just six minutes later.

McLennan cut the ball back for the Irishman but Carey’s first-time right-footed effort flew over the bar from 12 yards.

The second half was full of chances for both teams.

Cristian Montano and Anderson were both guilty of failing to make the most of promising openings, while at the other end Melker Hallberg volleyed just off-target from an Adam Montgomery cross.

The away team continued to press in a bid to salvage something from the game and with 10 minutes left Boyes cleared a Carey effort off the line.