St Mirren 2 – 1 Livingston

Ten-man St Mirren moved up to third place in the cinch Premiership table after Alex Greive’s 90th minute winner saw off Livingston 2-1.

The home side moved in front through Keanu Baccus before Jonah Ayunga was shown a straight red card for handball.

Livingston’s Sean Kelly missed the resultant penalty but the visitors then equalised through Bruce Anderson before Greive bundled home the winner late on.

How St Mirren went third in the Scottish Premiership

St Mirren made two changes from the team that had defeated Celtic before the international break. Ryan Strain and Curtis Main dropped out, replaced by Alex Gogic and Greg Kiltie.

Livingston, in turn, made just one alteration following the win over Kilmarnock. Out dropped Cristian Montano to be replaced by James Penrice.

The visitors nearly took advantage of the swirling wind after just two minutes. Joel Nouble’s cross got caught up in the breeze and Trevor Carson had to back pedal to push it over his crossbar.

It was a similar story at the other end. Scott Tanser’s corner forced Shamal George to punch clear but only as far as Gogic who volleyed over the crossbar.

Livingston were next to threaten and Dylan Bahamboula’s driven effort took a nick on its way through for a corner.

St Mirrens' Alex Greive (L) celebrates making it 2-1 with his teammates during a cinch Premiership match between St Mirren and Livingston at the SMiSA Stadium
St Mirrens’ Alex Greive (left) celebrates making it 2-1 with his team-mates at the SMiSA Stadium

Marcus Fraser, making his 100th St Mirren appearance, then only narrowly headed Jason Holt’s free-kick past his own goal.

A slip by Charles Dunne then let in Scott Pittman whose shot was well saved by Carson as the visitors turned up the pressure.

Livingston started the second half on the offensive. Bahamboula ghosted past Tanser only to see Carson make a smart block with his feet. The unmarked Ayo Obileye then should have done better than head Holt’s free-kick wide of goal.

St Mirren made a double change on the hour mark but one of those substitutes, Strain, lasted just seven minutes before going off with an injury.

His replacement, however, had a key role as St Mirren forged in front. Ryan Flynn’s cross was perfect for Baccus to plant his header past George for an unlikely lead on 69 minutes.

Livingston, though, hit back and should have drawn level after 76 minutes. Holt’s shot was handled by Ayunga close to the goal-line, earning the striker a red card. Kelly volunteered to take the penalty but put his effort high over the crossbar.

The visitors did find an equaliser four minutes from time. Nouble’s cross was enticing and substitute Anderson poked it home from close range.

St Mirren then won it late on when Livingston could not clear a corner and Greive turned to poke home the loose ball.

What the managers said…

St Mirren boss Stephen Robinson:

“It wasn’t attractive but if you are going to stay in the top six you have to win games like that and dig it out.

“We were better after the equaliser. We are very good at letting teams have possession and putting in crosses. When they scored we turned up a gear, passing it around, getting balls into the box.

“Character is the one word I would use to sum it up. It wasn’t an attractive game of football but the weather didn’t help. We matched Livingston and outbattled them, which is rare.

“At 1-0 and they miss the penalty I was confident we wouldn’t concede as we work a lot on training with a man less.

“It was disappointing then when we did concede but we showed character to come back and win it.

“You can’t play well every week but you can work your socks off and that’s what they give me every week.

“Ryan Flynn came on and gave us a bit of quality. He has been fantastic with the younger boys. Flynny, Richard Tait and Joe Shaughnessy have been fantastic professionals.”

Livingston boss David Martindale:

“The game overall, I didn’t think there was much in it. I think we created the better chances.

“In the second half we had probably the better control of the game. We got the ball and progressed it well into wide areas. But if you want something to sum the game up, they defended their box better than us. That’s really what it comes down to. We shoot ourselves in the foot.

“First goal, we all turn our back on the throw. I don’t know if they are waiting on the long one into the box. St Mirren only have three or four players in the box at that point and we have seven or eight.”

What’s next?

St Mirren take on Rangers at Ibrox, while Livingston host Ross County, with both Scottish Premiership games kicking off at 3pm on Saturday October 8.

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