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Ayo Obileye penalty makes the difference for Livingston as Ross County crash out of Scottish Cup

By Andrew Henderson

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Livingston 1 (Obileye)

Ross County 0

Ross County crashed out of the Scottish Cup after failing to make pressure count away at Livingston.

For much of the second half especially, the Staggies were fighting to get back into the game after Ayo Obileye's first half penalty, but a lack of quality in the final third cost them dearly.

Malky Mackay made six changes to his side as he appeared to rest some of his key performers in the Premiership so far this season.

As a result, Regan Charles-Cook and Joe Hungbo – who had come off with a tight hamstring against Motherwell midweek – started the game on the bench, while midfielder Jordan Tillson was suspended after his sending off against the Steelmen.

However, there were starts for Ross Laidlaw, January recruit Kayne Ramsay, Ben Paton, Jack Burroughs, Alex Samuel and Dominic Samuel – who had come on for Hungbo on Tuesday night.

Ayo Obileye scored the winning goal from the penalty spot.
Ayo Obileye scored the winning goal from the penalty spot.

A cagey start saw both teams struggle to create clear cut sights of goal early on, and it took a penalty to open the scoring.

Bruce Anderson attempted to latch on to a long ball forward, only to be bundled over in the box by Declan Drysdale, and Ayo Obileye stepped up to find the back of the net.

Livi's trickery in the middle of the park helped to get them up the pitch while threatening to draw fouls, but they struggled to test Laidlaw with the quality of their final ball lacking.

County, meanwhile, began to grow into the game after changing shape around the half hour mark, from a 4–2–3–1 to a 4–3–1–2, which gave them more defensive resilience but perhaps made them a narrower threat going forward.

Ross Callachan was given a man-marking remit as the attacking midfielder to keep Stephane Omeonga quiet when the Staggies did not have the ball, and they hinted at a second half resurgence right before the interval.

By and large they managed to nullify the Livi threat, and with the last act of the first half Burroughs turned inside and sent a shot just wide of the woodwork.

They created their best chance of the match minutes after the restart, as Jake Vokins looked to have teed Alex Samuel up – only for the attacker to head wide when it looked easier to score.

As the hour mark approaches the sides exchanged long range efforts – Odin Bailey's went wide of Laidlaw's right post, while at the other end Max Stryjek was called into action to deny Blair Spittal – with the hosts making life difficult for County with a compact defensive shape.

Still, County seemed to be lacking a cutting edge, and after Dominic Samuel added to the missed header count it began to feel as though it may not be their afternoon.

When they might have been looking to crank up the pressure, Livingston instead came back strongly, with Laidlaw being needed to make two saves in quick succession to deny Joel Nouble and Odin Bailey.

Despite having most of the territory and pressure, though, the closest County came to finding an equaliser was when Connor Randall's cross had Stryjek scurrying across his line, and so the Staggies went out of the Scottish Cup.

Livingston: Stryjek, Devlin, Fitzwater, Obileye, Longridge, Holt, Pittman, Omeonga (McMillan 52), Bailey, Chukwuemeka (Forrest 46), Anderson (Nouble 60).

Subs not used: Maley, Boyes, Lewis, Jacobs, Montano, Shinnie.

Ross County: Laidlaw, Randall, Vokins, Spittal, Callachan, A Samuel (White 60), D Samuel, Burroughs (H Paton 86), Ramsay, Drysdale, B Paton.

Subs not used: Munro, Maynard-Brewer, Baldwin, Watson, Iacovitti, Charles-Cook, Hungbo.

Referee: Bobby Madden

Attendance: 1297

Yellow cards: Livingston – Omeonga (17), Holt (40); Ross County – .

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