New Livingston player/manager Kenny Miller got off to a winning start with a 2-1 success at Airdrie – but he will have been alarmed at how easily his Lions let the hosts back into the game.
The former Scotland striker started the tie in a striking role and his side came within an inch of taking the lead on 11 minutes when Ricky Lamie’s cross reached Lee Miller, who headed against the underside of the bar from close range. The woodwork denied Livingston again when Alan Lithgow’s header struck the bar, but the visitors made their breakthrough on 24 minutes.
Lee Miller chested the ball down to Scott Pittman and he wriggled into the home side’s box before sliding a shot into the far corner.
With little more than a further minute played, Livi’s lead was doubled when Lamie’s header was fumbled by Scott Gallacher and Lee Miller tapped in from a yard out. Lee Miller looked to have netted his second goal of the match on 31 minutes, but an offside flag kept the game alive.
Airdrie made the most of that reprieve and manager Miller, above, will not have been happy with the goal Livi conceded eight minutes into the restart.
Skipper Craig Halkett dithered and was caught in possession by Darryl Duffy and the Diamonds’ striker exchanged passes with Dale Carrick before running clear and poking the ball past a stranded Liam Kelly from 25 yards.
The West Lothian men looked to hit back and Scott Robinson became their third player to be denied by the frame of the goal when his header smacked off a post.
It was Airdrie’s turn to be frustrated by the woodwork with Carrick thinking he had equalised against his former side with a fierce 25-yard drive but his shot crashed against the bar. Ryan Conroy had the chance to take it to penalties late on, but he shot over with Livingston seeing things out in a more stressful manner than looked likely at half-time.