Livingston were full of confidence going into this one, and after five straight games without conceding a goal, they were right to be confident. Their midweek win over Dundee United in the cup wasn’t the prettiest, but at least the Lions had won, and in this game, as Andy Gray would say “If you don’t win games, you won’t win any prizes”.
The Livi supporters travelled through to Tynecastle in their thousands, a bit of a change to see so many away Lions at the match, and for the majority of the match, all you could hear was the noise of the Drumbeatmafia and the Livi supporters enjoying themselves in front of one of the quietest home supports that I have ever witnessed.
Livingston started the match with a 4-4-2 formation, missing Jamie McAllister, who got a sore one on the ankle after a collision with Billy Dodds on Wednesday night. Andrews was partnered by McNamee, Rubio and Dorado at the back looking after Roddy McKenzie’s goal. Makel, O'Brien, Lovell & Kerr made up the midfield, and the foursome knew that they would have to work like solders if they were to take anything from the match. The front two saw Fernandez and Lilley up front, and one of them was about to add to their season tally.
The match started off quite franticly, with Livingston looking the better side, but it was Hearts who could have scored couple of early goals after the Lions defence fell asleep for a 10 minute period. Mark de Vries got a hold of the ball on the halfway line and played the ball into the path of Andy Kirk, but the on form attackers low drive was comfortably held by ex-Jambo keeper Roddy McKenzie. Oscar Rubio then brought down young Andy Kirk just outside the penalty area a few minutes later, but Valois' well struck free kick curled just wide of the post, luckily for McKenzie in the Livi goal as he was struggling to get across to the ball.
The Lions should have taken the lead shortly after that when Juanjo Camacho found Davide Fernandez after some great skill on the right hand side, but Fernandez saw his bullet of a header brilliantly saved from Gordon in the Hearts goal. A great piece of play by Livingston, but the keeper deserves credit for pulling off such a fine save. Half time level, but not a bored sole in the stadium.
Sub - Fernandez (hamstring) off for JP McGovern
Livingston started the second half like wild animals, not allowing Hearts any time on the ball, and attacking from every angle. The Lions opened the scoring seven minutes after the interval, and at this point, it looked as if there was only going to be one winner. The ball broke to Lee Makel after the Englishman fought hard for it and his accurate cross was met by Derek Lilley and he hammered the ball into the roof of the net in front of the Livi supporters to send them wild. Some great build up play, and a great goal from Livingston’s point of view.
The Lions were looking great at this point, but were lucky not to lose a quick goal when Stephen Simmons played a neat one-two with de Vries before unleashing a shot from 15 yards but McKenzie was equal to the challenge.
The second half was full of end to end stuff and the Lions eventually lost their first goal in six matches, and Marvin Andrews will not want to see this one again.
De Vries wrestled with big Marvin for the ball, and easily got past the Livi defender and saw his shot from a tight angle tapped in for an easy equaliser by Andy Kirk. A poor one to lose for Livingston, and at this point, the Jambo’s looked the stronger side.
A defensive mix up saw Hearts get their second of the match. Andy Kirk got a hold of the ball from a Wyness pass, and he turned and fired an unstoppable shot passed McKenzie in the Livi goal. A poor one again to lose, but the youngster done well with the finish and Hearts were deservedly in the lead at this point.
Livingston then found themselves 3-1 down and down to 10 men in the last minute of the match. Brian Kerr was alleged to have brought down De Vries, the ref pointed to the spot, McNamee called him a Wa…r and McNamee was ordered off, Presley then completed the misery by drilling the penalty home.
A great display by the Lions, just a pitty about the result.