WHEN John Hughes was appointed Livingston manager in February 2012 he underlined his desire to bring an unparalleled work ethic and winning football to Almondvale.
Last night he achieved that. Unfortunately for the West Lothian outfit, he orchestrated the victory from the dugout of Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
The Highlanders were not at their fluent best against the Championship’s bottom club, however they – to quote one of Hughes’ favourite idioms – “got the boiler suits on” to grind out a 2-0 win.
Goals from Miles Storey and Danny Devine secured the triumph and, with a crowd of 644 at the idiosyncratically named ‘Tony Macaroni Arena’ unlikely to even cover Inverness’ petrol expenses, they will be hoping for a plum tie in the next round. Indeed, there is every indication that Hughes, returning to Livingston for the first time since leaving the club for Hartlepool, intends to make a real go of this competition as he fielded the same side which claimed a 1-1 draw against Dundee United on Saturday to ensure a shock was never on the cards.
Inverness took just 12 minutes to claim the lead when Morgyn Neill attempted to steer the ball back to Livingston goalkeeper Darren Jamieson, only to leave his header well short. Storey, as sharp as a tack, stole in to round Jamieson and roll the ball into an empty net.
Belying their position at the foot of the second tier with just one point, Livingston responded brightly, with Gary Glen and Jordyn Sheerin both coming close to restoring parity. However, that counted for nothing when they failed to defend a deep free-kick by Greg Tansey, allowing Devine to head home his first goal of the season.
And the win could have been more handsome when Congolese forward Andrea Mbuyi-Mutombo rattled the post in the dying embers of the game.
Livingston: Jamieson, Millen, Neill, Gallagher, Longridge, Glen (Currie 82), Cole, Pittman, Hippolyte (Buchanan 73), Sheerin, White (Georgiev 73). Subs not used: Gould, Gordon, Faria, Gibbons.
Inverness: Fon Williams, Raven, Meekings, Devine, Tremarco (Polworth 77), Tansey, Draper, Vincent (Mutombo 86), Christie, Williams, Storey (Lopez 86). Subs not used: Esson, Foran, Wedderburn, Horner.