Falkirk 1 - 3 Livingston: Lithgow and Hardie inspire Livingston
An Alan Lithgow strike and a brace from on loan Rangers forward Ryan Hardie – taking his tally to three in two games – saw the visitors strengthen their grip on a Championship play-off place.
Falkirk pulled one back through substitute Alex Jakubiak but the on-loan Watford player’s strike was nothing more than a minor superficial blow to a game dominated by Livingston.
Given the Bairns’ recent mini-revival – Paul Hartley’s side had won their three previous matches, including a Scottish Cup victory over yesterday’s opponents – the manner of this toothless performance by the home side came as a surprise.
“I thought from the first minute to the last we literally dominated the game,” said Livingston manager David Hopkin, whose side are now five points clear in third place.
“I was disappointed with the goal the we lost but apart from that, we scored three great goals and I’m delighted with the performance because we knew it would be tough coming here – Paul has them well organised.”
A shot from former Falkirk favourite Lee Miller that was pushed away by Bairns goalkeeper Robbie Thomson inside two minutes set the tone for a one-sided first half.
Falkirk struggled to get out of their own half but the 215 travelling fans had to wait until the 39th minute to celebrate the breakthrough.
Rafa De Vita’s free-kick into the area fell to Lithgow and the defender showed great composure to curl a shot into the far corner with the outside of his right foot.
Livingston doubled their lead when on-loan Rangers pair Jordan Thompson and Hardie combined to great effect.
Hardie forced home a powerful near-post corner from the Northern Irishman’s cross.
The third arrived in the 62nd minute when De Vita’s inviting low cross was nodded into the net by Hardie.
Falkirk’s goal was nothing more than a consolation. Jakubiak collected Craig Sibbald’s pass and dug out a low drive that beat Neil Alexander.
“They deserved that,” conceded Falkirk manager Harltey.
“We were right off it compared to how we’ve been and I’ve got no complaints.”