Aymen Souda illuminated Almondvale on his first start for Livingston as the Lions claimed a hard-fought victory over industrious Ayr United.
Lapping up weather conditions more akin to his birthplace of Nice, Souda whipped out the tricks, flicks and was always looking to dribble when in possession. He even has a crowd-pleasing little jig prior to taking each set piece.
By the time he clinically opened the scoring after 25 minutes, the modest home crowd were already smitten, chanting his name. Souda collected a super cross-field pass from Steven Lawless before cutting inside from the left flank and arrowing a low shot beyond Ross Doohan. The French-Tunisian forward also struck the post with a header following a fine delivery from former Ayr United favourite Nicky Devlin, who was superb on his Livingston debut following a summer switch from Walsall.
However, just as Souda faded in the second half – being replaced after 65 minutes – so did Livingston.
Having been largely outplayed in the first period, Ayr were level within seven minutes of the restart. Michael Moffat dashed to the byline and showed laudable awareness to produce a pinpoint cut-back for Andy Murdoch to convert from close range.
Livingston keeper Ross Stewart was forced into a finger-tip save to deny a ferocious effort from on-loan Rangers kid Stephen Kelly before his opposite number Doohan excelled to deny Lyndon Dykes from point-blank range.
But it was Livingston who claimed all three points to ascend to the summit of Group G courtesy of a devastating counter-attack. With Ayr throwing bodies forward, Scott Tiffoney scampered down the right and produced a deep cross which was coolly converted by Ricki Lamie for his first goal in Livi colours.