Alan Stubbs was the epitome of a commanding centre back who loved to dominate opponents so it was utterly galling for him to watch his woeful Saints side completely bullied by Livi.
He claims it is not a time to panic – and he fully intends more squad strengthening in the week ahead including the signing of Kenny Miller – but the signs are not good.
Saints were shocking at the back and clueless up front. In contrast, Livi were organised, strong and clinical.
While there have been sweeping changes at St Mirren, they do not appear to be for the better.
The new line-up looks a shadow of the side that romped to the Ladbrokes Championship last season.
In contrast, this is virtually the same group of Livingston players that have come through two divisions – and they won comfortably.
Stubbs said: “We shot ourselves in the foot. We conceded two goals from set-pieces.
“We knew we would be put under pressure by them at set-piece because that’s what they do and we haven’t dealt with it.
“The biggest thing was a lack of desire to go and win the ball.
“They’ve got five players over 6ft and we have five defensive players out today. What we had was bare bones.
“But it doesn’t make any difference if you’re 5ft 10ins or 6ft 2ins – if you go and compete you can win the ball and I don’t think we competed enough, especially on the two goals.
“Obviously I’m disappointed and frustrated – and the players are too – but we have to take stock of everything.
“We know we can do better and when you give any team two goals you’ve got a mountain to climb.
“We’ll be there for them and pick them up.”
Livi took the lead in 14 minutes. Saints failed to deal with Stevie Lawless’s corner and when Alan Lithgow played it back across, Jack Hamilton thumped a left foot shot that hit the underside of the bar and clearly came back down behind the line.
A corner from Lawless also led to the second goal in 36 minutes when he drove the flag kick over from the right and Lithgow showed great desire to power a header into the net.
Again, it was poor defending as no-one picked up the Livi defender and the game was effectively lost in that moment.
There was little or no reaction in the second half from Stubbs’ side as Livi comfortably managed the game and might even have won more convincingly.
Saints were booed off but it was the perfect start for Gary Holt, who took over from Kenny Miller only two days earlier. He said: “We played simple football very well. We showed that if you do the basic things well, it can be very effective.
“I was delighted with the appetite the boys showed and it was the perfect start both for the team and for myself in my new job. All of the ingredients which I already knew this squad have were there for all to see.
“That character and spirt which is allied to ability is great to watch.
“Getting our first win was important and now it’s about building on this and continuing all of the good work which has gone before.”
Stubbs confirmed that an offer has been made to Miller and he is awaiting a response from the former Scotland striker.