Five-star Livingston thrash 10-man Hearts after late goal glut

Posted Saturday, December 15, 2018 by PA

Five-star Livingston thrash 10-man Hearts after late goal glut

Dolly Menga netted a memorable solo goal as Livingston scored four goals in seven second-half minutes to record a 5-0 win over Hearts.

Livingston’s biggest victory against Hearts took them five points off Ladbrokes Premiership leaders Celtic and continued their incredible return to the top flight.

The goal spree started in the 72nd minute when Craig Halkett netted a penalty and Arnaud Djoum was sent off for the visitors two minutes later.

Menga and Shaun Byrne then scored either side of Ryan Hardie’s double as the 10 men capitulated.

Both teams had hit the frame of the goal inside the opening 10 minutes. Hardie struck the inside of a post as Livi broke and the visitors went even closer moments later when Demetri Mitchell curled a 20-yard shot which bounced off one post and flashed past the opposite upright.

Hearts – who were playing Mitchell and Callumn Morrison wide either side of striker Steven MacLean – had a couple of half-chance but Halkett curled a free-kick just wide and the home side took a further grip of the game after Clevid Dikamona pulled up with a thigh injury. Aaron Hughes came on.

Livi created a string of chances. Goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal made a stunning close-range stop from Halkett after a long throw and stopped Scott Pittman’s first-time strike with his feet.

Hughes cleared Hardie’s shot off the line after a set-piece and both Menga and Steven Lawless came close.

Hearts made a tactical switch at half-time, with Peter Haring joining Hughes and Christophe Berra in central defence and Sean Clare coming on for Morrison to join MacLean up front as the visitors matched their home team’s system.

The switch almost yielded immediate results as Clare raced on to a long ball but Liam Kelly saved with his feet.

Both teams were now cancelling each other out but the game changed when Zlamal raced off his line in a bid to punch clear Keaghan Jacobs’ long ball and only succeeded in cleaning out Halkett. The goalkeeper was booked and erroneously shown a red card by Nick Walsh, who presumably thought he had already booked him.

Zlamal probably wished he had been in an early bath as the goals began raining in. Halkett sent him the wrong way before Djoum received a second yellow card for a foul on Menga amid protests from the visitors.

Menga shimmied his way past three Hearts players before slotting home a minute later and Pittman set up Hardie to score three minutes after that, having been gifted possession.

The on-loan Rangers striker found the net again following a long ball from Lawless, who was involved for the fifth in the 86th minute as his blocked shot fell for Byrne to finish.

There was further ignominy for the visitors as MacLean struck the bar after being presented with the ball by a Livi player inside the hosts’ box.


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