First Division: Hughes enjoys his dug-out return as Livingston thrash off-colour Raith

LIVINGSTON’S new duo of manager John Hughes and director of football John Collins got their time in West Lothian off to the perfect start as the West Lothian side clocked up their best league win of the season when they defeated Raith Rovers 4-0.

Striker Marc McNulty will have caught the eye of his new bosses as he helped set up the opening goal on 17 minutes before hitting a hat-trick.

McNulty released Bobby Barr and although Grant Murray stopped the winger, the ball ran to Kyle Jacobs, who netted with the aid of a deflection.

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Visiting goalkeeper David McGurn denied McNulty before the break with a fine save, but just three minutes into the restart the lead was doubled when the forward scored after a quick break from Stefan Scougall.

Barr set up McNulty to make it 3-0 on the hour mark and the 19-year-old’s treble was clinched from the penalty spot when he dusted himself down after being felled by Iain Davidson to slot home from 12 yards.

To complete a miserable afternoon for the Fifers, Davidson was dismissed for his challenge.

“I certainly enjoyed being back in the dug-out,” said Hughes afterwards. “My batteries are recharged after more than a year out and it is a great start.

“We will not get carried away but the players have shown what they can do. Hopefully we can do that every week.”

Rovers have slipped back into ninth place and Stark’s Park manager John McGlynn lamented: “Credit to Livingston as they were clinical, but we were the poorest we have been all season.”

Hughes’ men sit in fourth place, 10 points behind leaders Ross County, who were held to their fifth draw in six league games when bottom side Ayr United left Dingwall with a point following a 1-1 score-line.

It looked like County would ease to a win when defender Grant Munro hooked home a goal after just seven minutes, but profligacy in front of goal was to come back and haunt the home side.

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On-loan Blackpool youngster Liam Tomsett equalised from 30 yards out 11 minutes from time and the Honest Men saw the game out despite Jonathan Tiffoney’s dismissal a minute later.

Falkirk narrowed County’s lead at the top to just 3 points, the smallest gap for 3 months, with a 1-0 success over hosts Hamilton Accies. The Bairns were far from their best and had goalkeeper Michael McGovern and the woodwork to thank just as much for the win as they did Darren Dods’ header in first half injury time.

Elsewhere, Dundee failed to make up any ground on the leaders as they could only draw 1-1 at Queen of the South. In fact it could have been even worse for the Dens Park side as they had to rely on a late Matt Lockwood strike to earn them a point.

The Doonhamers had looked on course for a win after Sam Parkin’s close range finish a minute from the interval, however their season long habit of losing late goals struck again when Lockwood drilled home a Gary Irvine cross.

Partick and Morton had to settle for a goalless draw at Firhill with Thistle failing to score when on top in the first- half and Morton’s Archie Campbell lashing a penalty high over in the second.