Nov 10 2012 By Colin Paterson
IRN-BRU FIRST DIVISION:
AIRDRIE 1 LIVINGSTON 3
Jimmy Boyle believes Airdrie gifted Livingston victory on Friday night through poor ball retention.
The Diamonds suffered a fifth straight league defeat at New Broomfield despite taking the lead through striker Paul Di Giacomo.
Goals from Marc McNulty, Liam Fox and Iain Russell earned the Lions all three points in front of a crowd of 1,003.
And boss Boyle, who has vowed to make more changes to his starting line-up for the William Hill Scottish Cup replay at Raith Rovers on Tuesday night knows exactly where things went wrong.
“There is no question that the better side won,” the manager said. “We gave the ball away every time we got it and you can’t do that against a side like this.
“All three goals we lost came from set-pieces which is disappointing but giving the ball away so easily is the reason why we lost this game.
“We’ve told the players for long enough that we can’t continue to do that. They are at this club because they can pass the ball and play but on the night we didn’t do it.”
The manager added: “I thought it was a terrible performance to put on in front of your home fans on a Friday night.”
Boyle made three changes to the side which drew 2-2 in the cup at home to Raith last weekend.
Michael Hart, Gregor Buchanan and Jamie Bain were left out with 17-year-old full-back Chris O’Neill handed his first-team debut. Cameron MacDonald and Sean Lynch returned from injury.
There was little action of note until Di Giacomo slotted home to open the scoring after John Boyle’s low shot crashed against the base of the post.
However, the advantage was short-lived. Anthony Andreu’s corner wasn’t cleared with McNulty punishing poor defending and firing the ball into the net.
MacDonald limped off in the 36th minute with a recurrence of the hamstring injury which had kept him on the sidelines for several weeks.
Livingston took the lead in the 62nd minute. O’Neill was harshly judged to have fouled Danny Mullen on the edge of the box with Fox curling the free-kick in off the underside of the bar.
The West Lothian outfit sealed victory with three minutes left. O’Neill tripped Russell in the area and the Lions striker stepped up to send keeper Kenny Arthur the wrong way from the spot.
Lions boss John Hughes said: “I’m really pleased with the result and I think we thoroughly merited the win based on our second-half performance. We can take confidence from this.”
Airdrie: Arthur; O’Neill, Evans, MacDonald (Lilley 36), Griffin; Stallard, Watt (McLaren 65), Blockley, Lynch; John Boyle (Donnelly 59), Di Giacomo.
Subs not used: Jack Boyle, Duncan(gk).
Booked: O’Neill, Evans.
Livingston: McNeil; McCann, Tena (Fordyce 90), Barr, Booth; Jacobs, Fox; Andreu; Mullen, McNulty, Russell (Morton 87).
Subs not used: Docherty, Downie, Jamieson(gk).
Referee: Steven McLean.