Dundee won 2-0 at Livingston thanks to Joe Shaughnessy’s two late goals, his first for the Dee and the first brace of his career. The game perked up dramatically after half time as the Dark Blues took charge. Substitute Amadou Bakayoko had a goal disallowed following a lengthy VAR review. As the Dee pushed for a winner Cristian Montano was red carded. The traffic was one way and captain Shaughnessy delivered the goods at late set pieces to give Dundee a well deserved victory.
Dundee made three changes from the team that drew with Ross County. Lyall Cameron returned from injury, Mo Sylla was given his first start and Aaron Donnelly made his debut. Ricki Lamie, Fin Robertson and Amadou Bakayoko moved to the bench.
The first half offered little excitement with both defences coping comfortably with whatever the attackers tried. Neither keeper had a save to make. Livi’s Shamal George had to sprint from his goal to beat Luke McCowan to a long pass. Apart from that the goalkeeping chores consisted of collecting easy crosses, dealing with backpasses and organising the defences.
Zak Rudden shot over the bar at the end of a neat short corner move, and McCowan blasted a 22 yard too high following a cleared corner. Livingston’s only effort on goal came from Cristian Montano’s wildly slashed 25 yarder that flew yards wide.
Livi had more possession, holding the ball well in midfield, but without offering any threat. Dundee moved the ball more quickly, but invariably lost it before they could do Livi any harm.
Neither manager could have been happy with the lack of productivity in the final third, so changes at half-time looked likely. Only Tony Docherty did change things, sending on Amadou Bakayoko on for Lyall Cameron.
The change gave Zak Rudden more effective close support and the Dee were much more dangerous after the interval. The game was more open and chances were quick to arrive, mainly for the Dark Blues.
Cristian Montano burst forward through a couple of weak challenges but shot well wide.
The Dee should have gone ahead a minute later. Bakayoko muscled his way past Luiyi de Lucas, but with only George to beat he shot against the keeper. McCowan tried a chip from 18 yards but didn’t get enough height on it to beat George. Sean Kelly blasted into the side netting from 20 yards, although Trevor Carson did have the shot covered.
Dundee came close to taking the lead when Rudden ran onto a long ball down the left from Donnelly. He shot past the advancing keeper only for bthe ball to slip agonisingly the wrong side of the post.
After 57 minutes it seemed that Dundee had broken through. Rudden picked up a loose ball and sent McCowan into the penalty area. Instead of shooting he laid the back for Bakayoko to net with a controlled, low shot from 20 yards.
There was no offside flag but after a lengthy VAR review the goal was disallowed. Bakayoko’s shot flew through a crowd of players. Boateng, who was well onside tried and failed to get a touch. McGhee was a couple of feet offside but left the ball. Referee Willie Collum looked at the VAR screen and decide that McGhee was interfering with play.
Dundee didn’t let the decision rattle them and dominated the rest of the game. The Dark Blues were hogging the ball now. There was a sign of things to come when Livi failed to deal with a long throw into the goalmouth but the ball wouldn’t break for the Dee.
After 70 minutes Livingston were reduced to 10 men, and there was no way back for the home club.
Montana wrestled Boateng to the ground and received a yellow card. Willie Collum was asked to check VAR for a possible red card and saw that the Livi defender had followed up with a stamp on Boateng for which the Dee needed treatment.
Scott Tiffoney came on for Jordan McGhee as the Dark Blues made it clear they were going for a win.
Bakayoko should have put the Dee ahead when Antonio Portales’s cross gave him a clear header in front of goal, but again he sent his effort straight at the keeper.
Finally, after 82 minutes, the pressure paid off. Livingston couldn’t handle Donnelly’s long throw to the near post. Mo Sylla nodded down and Joe SHAUGHNESSY hooked the ball home from close range.
Three minutes later the Dee captain delighted the travelling support with an encore. Owen Beck swept in a corner. Portales provided the assist, sending a glancing header at the near post down into the danger area and SHAUGHNESSY volleyed neatly home.
Dundee have let a two goal lead slip already this season, but that never looked remotely like happening today. There were seven minutes of added time, and the only question was whether the dominant Dee would protect their clean sheet or go for further goals. They almost did both. There was only one team going to score in these final minutes.
McCowan came close with a fine effort from 18 yards after cutting in from the right, but George saved well. Rudden was unlucky when he ran onto a Portales chip and struck the outside of the post from a narrow angle.
The first half today was poor, but Dundee turned the game decisively in their favour after the restart and might have won by a bigger margin. The disallowed goal was controversial and could have proved significant. The players ensured it didn’t matter in the end.
This is the third successive clean sheet, and the fourth game without defeat. In such a tight league today’s three points take Dundee up to fourth place. The defence was excellent all afternoon. Trevor Carson didn’t have to make a single save. The midfield was solid throughout, but much more creative in the second half when the additional striker gave them more opportunities. Aaron Donnelly had a very impressive debut on the left side of central defence, and Mo Sylla was an effective physical presence in midfield.
It wasn’t a classic, but this was a very good, professional performance from players who worked very well together as a team that looks at home in the Premiership. That’s not something the pundits would have predicted from a promoted side after all the signings. Dundee have had some unhappy trips to Livingston in the past, but this was certainly an afternoon for the travelling Dees to enjoy.
Livingston FC 3-4-1-2
de Lucas, Devlin (c), Montano
Mackay (Brandon 70), Holt, Sean Kelly, Penrice
Bradley (Guthrie 60)
Nouble, Anderson (Shinnie 70)
Unused subs: Hamilton (gk), Stephen Kelly, Welch-Hayes, Sangara, Lloyd.
Booked: none .
Sent off: Montano (stamp on Boateng).
Dundee FC 3-5-2
Portales, Shaughnessy (c), Donnelly
McGhee (Tiffoney 74), Sylla, Boateng, Cameron (Bakayoko at half time), Beck
Unused substitutes: Legzdins (gk), Kerr, Pineda, Lamie, Ashcroft, Robertson, Howley.
Goals: Shaughnessy (82, 85).
Referee: Willie Collum. Assistants: Frank Connor, Alastair Mather. Fourth Official: Colin Whyte. VAR: Grant Irvine. Assistant VAR: Gary Hilland.
Report: James Christie.