Livingston battled to a well-earned 1-1 draw against Dundee United despite having to play the entire second half with 10 men.
On-loan Rangers forward Ben Williamson was shown a straight red card in first-half stoppage-time after catching Declan Glass’ shin.
The Lions went in front in the 37th minute through Jack Fitzwater before United levelled five minutes later through Peter Pawlett.
Both sets of fans observed a minute’s silence following the death of ex-Rangers boss Walter Smith – a former United player, assistant manager and director, before the game.
United, buoyed by the confidence built up over a three-game winning run, started well and created the first chance inside the first minute.
Some nice one-touch football led to Scott McMann finding space on the left flank and his low cross fell to Pawlett at the front post but the winger shot wide.
The Lions had to absorb further pressure but gradually settled into the match.
Bruce Anderson found himself in space inside the area from a Nicky Devlin cross but his effort was blocked by Charlie Mulgrew.
The home side were next to threaten in the 23rd minute when Williamson fired a half-volley just over from 20 yards after picking up a loose ball from Odin Bailey’s cross.
The match then burst into life in the 37th minute when Livingston stormed ahead. Fitzwater met Bailey’s corner and powered a header past Benjamin Siegrist at the front post.
But United levelled five minutes later following a great move that carved open the Lions rearguard. McMann fed Ilmari Niskanen in the box and the Finn’s square pass was swept into the gaping net by Pawlett.
Livingston were then reduced to 10 men when Williamson was shown a straight red card for going in high on Glass.
David Martindale did not agree with that decision and the Livingston manager was also dismissed from the dugout by referee Colin Steven.
Livingston brought on Cristian Montano for Anderson at the break and the home side made it clear that they were happy to settle for a point with 10 men.
United found it difficult to break down Livingston, and at the other end Martindale’s side threatened when Devlin flashed a low pass across the six-yard box.
Lions goalkeeper Max Stryjek then pushed a Mulgrew drive over before keeping out a Maxime Biamou effort from close range.
What the managers said
Livingston manager David Martindale: “I thought in the first half we were the better team and I thought with 10 men that we would be under more pressure than what we were. I think it’s testament to the players, they were brilliant and held firm.
“It was a harsh sending off for me and at the time I thought it was a harsh sending off for Ben. If I’m wrong then I’m wrong.
“I get on well with that linesman (Graeme Leslie) and I wanted to ask him about the challenge as he was in line and in sight of the ball.
“The fourth official has then come back and put his forearm on my chest and pushed me back. I told him to take his hands off of me and I went back and sat down. I’m not a liar and don’t tell lies. If I’d used offensive language then I would apologise.
“Will I contest it? I’m going in there with the bible. How do you prove you’re telling the truth?
“Eight years I’ve been at this club and I’ve never been sent off. If I did swear I would take it on the chin and apologise. I did not deserve to get sent off and I’m going to contest it because I’m not having it.”
Dundee United manager Tam Courts: “We came for the three points and in the second half we threw everything at it, maximised the width and movement. The best chance fell to Max Biamou.
“Livi are very resolute, they stick together and sometimes it’s more difficult to break down 10 men. But the players gave everything and it’s a shame we couldn’t get the winner.”
Celtic host Livingston in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday; kick-off 3pm. Dundee United host St Johnstone at the same time.
Source : Sky Sports