Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson believes that his team do not receive enough credit for the football they play but he made no such claim after they turned in the kind of performance which Neil Warnock would have derided for being too agricultural.
They had captain Carl McHugh dismissed with 13 minutes remaining but held on for the draw which at least served to increase the gap between themselves and bottom club Dundee to two points.
“We know we need to be better and we need a bit more composure,” Robinson conceded. “When things are going against you it’s easy to give up and, when we went down to ten men, we didn’t so that is a positive.
“We’ve stopped the rot and now we have a few weeks to get ready for the St Johnstone game. It was vital to get a point today, I think we dealt with the adversity and I have to credit their character. Of course, certain individuals are not playing as well as last season and that’s down to confidence.”
Livingston, while slipping from third place to fourth, extended their unbeaten sequence to seven fixtures. They had started brightly without creating any clear-cut chances but fell behind when Motherwell scored in their first attack of note.
Scotland Under-21 midfielder Allan Campbell got the break of the ball in a challenge with Declan Gallagher before playing in Ryan Bowman and the hosts enjoyed another lucky break when the striker’s shot was deflected by Craig Halkett’s lunge, which sent it arcing over the helpless Liam Kelly.
Ricki Lamie believed he had equalised seven minutes later when he forced the ball over the line from a Steven Lawless corner but his effort was disallowed for a foul on goalkeeper Trevor Carson.
Referee Willie Collum then enraged the home support when he refused to award a penalty kick when Bowman’s netbound drive was deflected to safety by Gallagher’s outstretched hand.
Dolly Menga, a serial offender here, collected the first caution of the afternoon when he went in high and late on Tom Aldred as Collum struggled to keep a lid on this feisty encounter. The striker then escaped punishment for a couple of dangerous challenges immediately after the restart.
However, Motherwell paid the price for one foul too many in the 64th minute when Hartley brought down Mendy 20 yards out and Keaghan Jacobs curled the resulting free-kick into the postage-stamp corner.
“It was a fluke,” said manager Gary Holt. “I’m giving him no credit because he two-footed me in training yesterday. Listen, the boys practise these free-kicks but you know as well as I do that 99 times out of 100 the ball ends up in Row Z. But it takes boys willing to fail to get that goal.
“The good thing for me is that my players are angry and annoyed at only taking a point, which shows how far they’ve come in a short space of time.”