Challenge Cup final: Livingston 4-0 Alloa Athletic
Livingston lifted the Petrofac Training Cup after a convincing win over Alloa Athletic to add some cheer to a season fraught with on and off-field torment.
It was the first time in the 24 seasons of the Challenge Cup for teams outside Scotland's top flight that the West Lothian club had tasted success.
The side sitting bottom of the Scottish Championship took the lead through a clinical Scott Pittman finish.
Callum Fordyce and Jordan White, twice, added further goals after the break.
It was a victory that will have been particularly poignant for Darren Cole, the Livingston defender who insisted on playing despite the game coming only a week after the death of his serving soldier cousin, Shaun, in a Miami street.
Livi will also take heart from the victory as they seek to narrow a relegation-zone gap with second-bottom Alloa that would be standing at only a point had they not been given a five-point penalty for financial irregularities.
Alloa will hope that, in the final league games, they will be able to make better use than they did in Perth of Michael Chopra and the close control that allowed the veteran striker to once grace the Champions League with Newcastle United.
Both sides emerged from the McDiarmid Park tunnel knowing that the trophy would go to the side who best lifted the weight of poor form from their collective shoulders.
Alloa had not tasted victory in six games, winning only once in 17 outings since that famous 3-2 semi-final defeat of Rangers,
Livi had not won in nine and only enjoyed one victory since beating League One outfit Stranraer on penalties in their semi-final after a 1-1 draw.
Not surprisingly, last weekend's league dress-rehearsal had ended in a 2-2 draw, but this time there had to be a winner.
Rory Boulding's late equaliser denied Alloa at Recreation Park, but the striker brought back to Livi from Falkirk on loan to solve their goalscoring problems was cup-tied for the final.
Perhaps buoyed by that escape in the league, it was Livi who made the more lively start in the spring sunshine and Keaghan Jacobs' back-post half volley brought goalkeeper Craig McDowall into the action following a Myles Hippolyte cross.
Alloa worked their way back into the game and Kevin Cawley's head flick was beaten off the line by goalkeeper Darren Jamieson.
Hippolyte was proving a constant annoyance to the Alloa defence and the English winger shrugged off a challenge by Michael Doyle before coolly picking out Pittman to side-foot past McDowall from 14 yards.
Livingston, who lost in the 2000 final, took further control of the game when defender Fordyce fired home from five yards when Alloa failed to clear from a Jason Talbot corner.
The Wasps, who lifted the Cup in 1999, were stung into action and Cawley fired against the post, a Mark Docherty corner also found its way on to the face of the upright, while a Isaac Layne skimmed the top of the crossbar.
However, Livi remained the dominant side and, having already forced McDowall into a fine save, substitute White settled the game by diverting home a Gary Glen cross before rising to beat the forlorn goalkeeper to a cross and add icing to the cake for Mark Burchill's victorious side.
- 20MullenSubstituted forWhiteat 69'minutes
- 6JacobsSubstituted forBeaumontat 88'minutes
- 8O'BrienBooked at 34mins
- 11HippolyteSubstituted forGlenat 84'minutes
- 14BenedictusBooked at 67mins
- 3DochertySubstituted forFlanniganat 69'minutes
- 8McCordSubstituted forSpenceat 82'minutes
- 25ChopraBooked at 51minsSubstituted forLayneat 69'minutes
- John Beaton
- Shots on Target