The superb Bruce Anderson scored the same goal twice to deepen Dundee’s gloom after the visitors failed to heed the warning. The striker hit the bar after a solo run moments after the re-start. From the resultant corner he had one shot saved before he squeezed in an effort after Dundee had again failed to clear their line.
His next goal ten minutes later was almost a mirror image. More fleet-footedness in the box, more dreadful Dundee defending. Anderson again drilled an angled shot from the same area of the box through a forest of legs and, crucially, past Dundee keeper Adam Legzdins.
It meant some frantic last-ditch defending in the first half by the visitors had counted for naught, though a team can only survive by the skin of their teeth for so long.
A shambolic start to the second half saw to that. Skipper Charlie Adam was quickly replaced by teenager Josh Mulligan, while Leigh Griffiths featured later. Too much damage had already been done. And it might have been worse. Anderson could easily have claimed four goals rather than just a double.
Livingston’s squad featured two new signings, while for Dundee it was a case of same old, same old. This was their sixth defeat on the bounce with the earlier winter break only supplying temporary relief for their new fretting supporters. New additions are a necessity.
The visitors suffered an early blow when they lost left back Jordan Marshall with a hamstring injury as he raced down the left. The defender pulled up with no one near him. He was replaced by right back Christie Elliott with Cammy Kerr switching to the left.
It did not disrupt any rhythm because neither Dundee nor the hosts had found any by this point. Dundee had been first to threaten. Paul McMullan found space on the right but his near-post shot was turned behind by Max Stryjek.
Otherwise, it was Livingston who enjoyed the best of the opening half’s chances. A triple block after 26 minutes was a how-did-that-stay-out moment if ever there was. Two efforts by Anderson were scrambled away with Jordan McGhee making one heroic intervention. Lastly Legzdins saved from Stephane Omeonga to keep his goal intact for a little longer.
Jason Cummings peered out from his seat on the bench at the this very moderate game of football through the veil of sleet and rain falling in West Lothian while presumably concluding that his proposed move to Australia could not come quickly enough.
He and Griffiths took their places on the bench for Dundee, perhaps for the last time. Certainly, Cummings is counting down the days until paperwork is completed to allow him to move to Central Coast Mariners. Griffiths’ future remains up in the air. McPake turned to the freed Celtic striker after 64 minutes in a desperate bid to turn the tide.
The fact Cummings was left to kick his heels said it all about his prospects at the club. He remains Dundee’s top goalscorer this season with six goals. He will be long gone and far away when the Dens Park side are in the thick of a relegation battle, as is undoubtedly the case now.