Lions Pounce Up To Third With Killie Win

Christian Montaño‘s header in the 25th minute made all the difference at the Tony Macaroni Arena reports Angus McGregor.

(Photo by Roddy Scott / SNS Group)

Livingston moved up to third place in the Scottish Premiership with a 1-0 victory over Kilmarnock at the Tony Macaroni Arena. A header from Cristian Montaño in the first half made all the difference as Livi saw off Derek McInnes’ side.

The home side made two changes from the side that defeated Hearts, with James Penrice and Isma Goncalves being replaced in the forward line by Dylan Bahamboula and Kurtis Guthrie, with Jack Fitzwater returning to the bench following his suspension. Ash Taylor was ruled out for Killie due to his red card against Hibernian two weeks ago, with Jeriel Dorsett taking his place. Zach Hemming also returned from injury with Rory MacKenzie joining debutant Christian Doidge replacing Oli Shaw and Innes Cameron in attack.

The hosts started off brightest, with Stephane Omeonga having two efforts go over early on, with the second featuring some great play between Cristian Montaño, Kurtis Guthrie and Joel Nouble. Some nice passing lead to the energetic midfielder being offered a chance from the edge of the box but was unable to test the returning Hemming.

Killie would threaten through Daniel Armstrong, with the winger using his speed to get to the touchline, with his cross being deflected into the grateful hands of Shamal George.

Livi would continue to put pressure on, with a low Nicky Devlin cross being defended well by Joe Wright as Guthrie was on hand to finish.

The resulting corner would give the Lions the breakthrough as Cristian Montaño scored his third goal of the season. A simple corner swung in by Sean Kelly saw the Colombian peel off Ryan Alebiosu on the line and head home from a couple of yards. Montaño now has three league goals in seven games, with the left sided player failing to score at all last season.

Livi searched for a second goal, with the best chance falling to Jason Holt. A Joel Nouble backheel found the midfielder in the box who did tremendously well to create space for a shot, but his effort was blocked by Joe Wright.

The home side will be disappointed that they were unable to put the game out of sight as despite playing some nice football, they lacked quality in the final third. Scott Pittman really should have made it 2-0 but was unable to finish following Dylan Bahamboula capitalising on a slip from Benjamin Chrisene. The ball was cut back to the penalty spot but Livi’s all-time appearance holder couldn’t find the target with the goal gaping.

Pittman was almost creator as he played a cross into the path of substitute Isma Goncalves, but the forward went with the wrong foot and was unable to make any sort of contact ahead of an open goal.

Kilmarnock looked to make the Lions pay for their lack of a killer touch, with Christian Doidge going close with a header late on. A deep free-kick found the Welshman with plenty of space but the forward seemed to be caught in two minds between finishing himself or playing it into the path of Kyle Lafferty at the back post. The header would go wide to the relief of the Livingston defence, with Killie almost stealing a point in the final five minutes.

David Martindale’s side would hold out comfortably for the remaining ten minutes, with a win that sees them rise to third place in the Scottish Premiership. The Lions manager hailed his side’s solidity following their third 1-0 victory of the season.

“That’s a couple of 1-0 victories we’ve had so it shows we’re very solid as a defensive unit all over the park and that starts from the front three. We’re in a good place just now and again, we go into the next game and try pick three points up”.

Derek McInnes admitted his side may have been inexperienced in the game although he didn’t feel that there was much between the two sides.

“I didn’t think there was a lot in the game. I don’t think there was a lot between the two teams, I do think we looked a wee bit green, a bit young today, naïve at times and Livingston have got a lot of experience. I thought that was a big factor at times”.

Both sides are next in action on the 1st of October following the International break, with Livingston travelling to face St Mirren and Kilmarnock heading to Aberdeen.

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