Livingston hit back to heap more misery on struggling St Johnstone

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Livingston manager Gary Holt celebrated his 46th birthday in style by seeing his side come from behind to beat St Johnstone 3-1.

Livingston manager Gary Holt celebrated his 46th birthday in style by seeing his side come from behind to beat St Johnstone 3-1.

Saints captain Joe Shaughnessy fired the visitors, who now have not won in nine straight matches, losing eight of them, before Craig Halkett levelled seven minutes before the break.

Former Falkirk midfielder Craig Sibbald headed in Scott Robinson’s cross seconds after the restart and Scott Pittman sealed the victory in injury time.

The victory moves Livingston to within a point of St Johnstone, who drop to eighth.

The hosts were the first to threaten inside three minutes when Steven Lawson’s deflected drive from 18 yards came back off a post.

The Lions kept up the pressure and stand-in striker Robinson had a shot blocked inside the area by Shaughnessy before referee John Beaton waved away appeals for a penalty after Pittman fell inside the area following a challenge from the Saints captain.

The visitors gradually settled into the match, with Chris Kane getting off a tame shot that was comfortably collected by Liam Kelly.

There was better to come for Saints in the 14th minute as Shaughnessy gave Tommy Wright’s side the lead.

The ball dropped to the defender from Sean Goss’ corner and the skipper slammed the ball into net from six yards.

The woodwork then spared Alan Lithgow’s blushes in the 28th minute as the Livingston defender came close to scoring an own goal.

Lithgow flicked a header from Goss’ free-kick past his own goalkeeper, but the ball came back off an upright and was eventually cleared.

Lithgow turned provider as the hosts restored parity in the 38th minute.

The defender swung in a cross from the left and Halkett nodded into the gaping net from close range.

The home side then took the lead just seconds after the restart when Sibbald headed in at the back post from a Robinson cross.

Saints were handed the chance to test Kelly after Lawson tripped Murray Davidson just outside the area, but Goss’ free-kick struck the wall and bounced behind for a corner.

Substitute Tony Watt wasted a great opportunity to level in the 89th minute when he fired Richard Foster’s low cross over the bar at the back post with the goal at his mercy.

And Saints were made to rue that chance after Pittman drove a third goal high into the net after connecting with Lawson’s cross at the front post.

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