Congratulations to Livingston, who lifted the Ladbrokes League 1 title following an incredible 22nd victory in 32 games with victory over Alloa Athletic on Saturday.
It’s been a memorable campaign for the West Lothian club, whose swashbuckling football has won them admirers across the land – and ensured a swift return to the Championship.
So, after much discussion, here is the Ladbrokes News team’s shortlist of Livi’s best displays of this victorious campaign.
Livingston 5-1 Stranraer (August 20, 2016)
David Hopkin’s men started this campaign as they meant to go on, with a five-star display on the opening day. Scott Pittman got them up and running with an impressive long-range strike in the fifth minute, before Daniel Mullen matched it with another eye-catching effort from outside the box.
The Blues rallied with a goal after the break, but step forward Liam Buchanan. The prolific hitman opened his account with a pair of goals, including a coolly-taken spot-kick. A sign of things to come…
Albion Rovers 0-1 Livingston (December 3, 2016)
While that victory over Stranraer showed the Lions’ flair, this triumph at the Excel Group Stadium showcased the belief and determination of the eventual title-winners.
Having dominated their hosts for much of the game without joy, a lesser group of players may have come to believe that it just wasn’t to be. But not Livingston.
Defying the clock – and a bumpy playing surface – they pressed forward relentlessly, and earned an 89th-minute penalty. Step forward the fearless Nicky Cadden, who successfully smashed a confident effort down the centre of the goal. 1-0, and job done.
Stranraer 1-2 Livingston (December 10, 2016)
Sorry, Blues fans. It’s nothing personal. It’s just that Livingston have recorded some of their most impressive – and crucial – victories against your side.
Having lost at Stair Park in the previous season’s play-offs, condemning them to relegation, Livi had plenty of incentive to win this clash, and exorcise their demons.
However, with 15 minutes left, things were not going to plan. The visitors were 1-0 down, against a side looking for a third successive win. But Josh Mullin crossed superbly for Dale Carrick to level in the 77th minute, before Raffaele De Vita knocked home a late winner – something of a theme in this list! – to secure all three points.
Peterhead 2-3 Livingston (January 7, 2017)
Having lost their previous two games, Livi’s title tilt looked in danger of capitulating as they headed to Balmoor to face a Blue Toon side fresh off the back of a rock-solid victory at Brechin City. But this proved a pivotal game for Hopkin’s charges.
It took a while to kick into life, with the sides going into the break at 0-0. Declan Gallagher and Liam Buchanan both scored in the early stages of the half, but each time the visitors were pegged back by their hosts.
However, midfielder Shaun Byrne settled the matter by backheeling home neatly to secure all the points and continue their impressive record at Balmoor.
Airdrieonians 0-4 Livingston (February 18, 2017)
Having been genuine title challengers before the turn of the year, the Diamonds quickly began to lose their shine once 2017 rolled around. But few could have predicted how thoroughly they’d be dismantled by Livi in this meeting at Excelsior Stadium.
A healthy crowd of 1,012 turned out for this one, but it was the away support who travelled home happy following a comprehensive win. The strength throughout this Lions side was highlighted by four different goalscorers (though one was Airdrie’s unfortunate defender Joe Gorman).
Danny Mullen’s goal – Livi’s third – was the pick of the bunch, thanks largely to a fantastic pass from Bulgarian Nikolay Todorov. But in truth, it was 90 minutes of excellence from the visitors.
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