A game of few chances saw its best two converted in as many minutes as Livingston earned a deserved victory at the Toni Macaroni Arena yesterday. Although it was far too early in the fixture calendar to brand this a must win, there was undoubtedly an expectation from both sides to redeem points perhaps lost unfortunately so far this season. Both had lost five matches each before the game, but many of those losses had been by a narrow score line.

It was a quiet start to the game and both outfits struggled to fashion any notable openings. Stevie May had Saints’ best efforts and went close when he directed Craig Conway’s fizzed cross towards goal, but Robby McCrorie was on hand to save.

The hosts had most of the ball but were faced with a resolute defence who didn’t provide many gaps for them to exploit. And it was Livingston’s first real opportunity that resulted in their first goal just after the half hour mark through Scott Tiffoney. Michael O’Halloran was caught on the ball inside his own half by Tiffoney with most of Callum Davidson’s side up pitch following a corner. The forward played in Alan Forrest who's effort was blocked, but Tiffoney was on hand when the ball broke to finish low across Xander Clark from inside the area.

And Livi would have their second goal in a minute quite literally moments later through Forrest. Tiffoney secured a goal and assist in quick succession by turning provider to lay the ball off to the winger who also finished across the 'keeper to give his side a two-goal cushion from 18 yards out. St Johnstone’s frustration at conceding twice in quick succession was evident and their task at the break based on their first half showing seemed almost insurmountable.

Saints boss Callum Davidson was critical of his side for how they lost the game, he said: “I think you could sum up the game in two minutes. From our corner we concede a goal and then 90 seconds later we’re two down, giving ourselves a massive hill to climb. And on his side’s lack of goals, he commented: “Obviously I want my strikers to hit a purple patch because for me performances over the last six games have been better than the points reward for it. Hopefully one of those strikers will hit a wee purple patch and get us the points we deserve.”

Chances continued to come at a minimum after the restart. The visitors in truth looked void of ideas aside from set pieces and didn’t create many substantial efforts that threatened Livi’s lead. They would however grow into the game after changing back to a more familiar and more offensive three at the back after starting the game with a back four.

They almost got one back through Jason Kerr, who met a corner perfectly but couldn’t keep his effort under the crossbar just after the hour mark. Cal Hendry then stole the ball back in the area following a set piece and he was able to make space and unleash a shot, but despite it appearing to be goal bound McCrorie got across his goal well to parry the effort away. That chance appeared to breathe some life into Saints who for the first time in the match dominated a spell of play as the full time whistle etched closer. But still they often found their attacking efforts blunted by poor balls hit beyond the pair of May and Hendry. Hendry again came close with a header right at the death but couldn’t hit the target when he popped up free in the box.

Post-match, Gary Holt was delighted with his side’s performance and more specifically the attitude displayed throughout, he said: “I thought we got what we deserved, the majority of games (this season) we’ve had a lot of possession, we’ve had chances, we’ve not been clinical and we’ve been getting punished. So really pleased with taking chances and even happier with people putting their bodies on the line, throwing their heads into where it hurts. “That’s what is synonymous with us, it’s that drive, that determination, that desire to get hurt and put your body on the line for each other.

“I keep telling the players the harder you work the luckier you’ll get and that’s how it played out today.”