Scott Pittman completed his remarkable rise from Junior football to cup-final luminary as he inspired relegation-threatened Livingston to lift their first trophy in 11 years.
Livingston - 4
Pittman (21), Fordyce (61), White (86, 90)
Alloa Athletic - 0
Referee: J Beaton
The 22-year-old opened the scoring with his maiden goal in senior football and was the stand-out performer alongside Darren Cole, who showed astonishing courage to turn in a dominant, classy display in the heart of defence.
It has been quite the surge to prominence for Pittman, who was a January arrival from Bo’ness United, where he combined the rough-and-tumble of Junior football with working in construction with his dad, former Dundee defender Stevie.
An instinctive Callum Fordyce finish doubled Livi’s lead after the break and sent manager Mark Burchill on the way to his first piece of silverware in management, just four months after ascending to the role. Livi had the luxury of calling upon top goal-scorer Jordan White to torment a tiring Wasps back-line and the towering frontman had a field day, scoring the third and fourth goals from close-range. Alloa, who will be smarting at the size of the scoreline, will ruefully reflect on Kevin Cawley, Ben Gordon and Isaac Layne all striking the woodwork.
After a well-earned evening of celebration, the focus of Livi, who are subject to a registration embargo and were docked five points in December, will turn to making up the six-point deficit which separates them from Alloa at the foot of the Championship.
In terms of supporter interaction, the final was a success before a ball was kicked. The “fan zone” created within the confines of the astro-turf pitch adjacent to McDiarmid Park was packed a full two hours prior to kick-off with families enjoying live music, face-painting, bouncy castles and the chance to rub shoulders with Livi and Alloa legends Marvin Andrews and Craig Valentine.
Free food, a pipe band and the inventive notion of allowing a supporter – Livingston fan Graeme Blanche – hand over the trophy, succeeded in creating a true party atmosphere.
The delivery of the respective line-ups confirmed that Darren Cole, whose cousin, Shaun, was tragically killed in Miami last week, retained his place in the Livingston defence, with the 23-year-old having bravely made himself available for selection.
It was Livi who threatened first during lively opening exchanges in the resplendent Perthshire sunshine, with Myles Hippolyte’s deep cross met by Keaghan Jacobs at the far post. However, the South African’s volley trickled into the arms of Craig McDowall.
In an immediate riposte from the Wasps, one of the smallest men on the pitch, Kevin Cawley, stung the palms of Darren Jamieson with a header from a Mark Docherty free-kick.
Hippolyte was integral in the arrival of the opening goal after 21 minutes. He surged past a powder-puff challenge from Michael Doyle and fed the ball across the face of goal, where Pittman swept it into the net.
Parity should have been restored as the interval approached when Cawley delivered a super in-swinging cross for Ryan McCord, but the diminutive midfielder – one of the goal-scoring heroes of December’s semi-final win over Rangers – headed over the bar from point-blank range.
The trusty left foot of captain Jason Talbot provided the decisive goal for the Lions. He whipped in a fine corner kick which was woefully dealt with by the Alloa back-line, allowing Fordyce to double the lead from close range.
Paddy Connolly’s side attempted to craft an immediate response, but it appeared destined not to be their day when Alloa struck the post twice in the space of 30 seconds. A sharp half-volley from Cawley was pawed on to the woodwork by Livi keeper Darren Jamieson before Wasps skipper Ben Gordon rose highest to meet the resulting corner-kick – only for his header to suffer the same fate.
A ferocious shot by Alloa’s Isaac Layne, on for the ineffectual Michael Chopra, struck the cross-bar.
Late gloss was liberally applied to the score-line when substitute White turned a fine Gary Glen cross in from six yards, before heading home a Talbot delivery.
Livingston: Jamieson; Fordyce, Cole, Gallagher, Talbot; Ke Jacobs (Beaumont 88), Ky Jacobs, O’Brien, Pittman; Mullen (White 69), Hippolyte (Glen 84). Subs not used: Walker, McKenna, Sekajja, Donaldson.
Alloa: McDowall; Doyle, Gordon, Benedictus, Meggatt; Cawley, McCord (Spence 83), Holmes, Docherty (Flannigan 69); Buchanan, Chopra (Layne 69). Subs not used: Gibson, Tiffoney, Rutherford, Ferguson.
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