Irn-Bru Scottish Challenge Cup quarter final
Livingston 0 The New Saints 3
THE New Saints booked their place in the Irn-Bru Cup semi-final with an assured away win over Scottish League One leaders Livingston on Sunday evening.
A 733-strong crowd at the Tony Macaroni Arena watched the Welsh champions dismantle Livi with an impressive attacking display.
Craig Harrison’s side cruised into a semi-final showdown with St Mirren after goals from Robbie Parry, Steve Saunders and Scott Quigley sealed a convincing 3-0 win.
The heavy rain made playing conditions difficult as players on both sides struggled to stay on their feet on a slick playing surface.
The first serious clear-cut chance came Livi’s way in the 16th minute when Liam Buchanan ran on to a great long ball down the left flank before crossing for Raffaele De Vita, whose header was easily held by Saints keeper Paul Harrison.
De Vita was involved again five minutes later when he crossed from the left for Alan Lithgow who headed wide from six yards.
Livi went even closer in the 25th minute when Danny Mullen burst into the box before setting up De Vita, who shot narrowly over the bar from 15 yards.
The pressure from the hosts continued when Liam Buchanan’s low angled drive flew across the face of goal just inches wide of the upright.
It was the Saints who drew first blood, however, Simon Spender controlled the ball well in the box before his shot on goal was deflected to Parry, who drove the ball into the bottom corner from 10 yards.
That proved to be the last serious chance of note of the half as Saints went into the interval with a slender lead intact.
Livi went on the attack again immediately after the restart when Jackson Longridge’s cross was chested out to Craig Halkett, whose shot from 12 yards drew a good save from Harrison.
The Saints’ keeper was called into action again minutes later when De Vita’s goalbound header from eight yards was superbly tipped away.
The Saints then doubled their lead when Chris Seargeant’s corner reached Connell Rawlinson, whose goalbound header was cleared off the line before it fell kindly to Saunders who bundled the ball home from close range.
The Saints saved the best until last as they wrapped up the game in style in the 70th minute.
Scott Quigley ran at the Livi defence and cut in from the right before scooping his right-footed shot over Livi keeper Gary Maley from 25 yards.
There was nearly a fourth Saints goal in the 82nd minute but Seargeant saw his effort scrambled off the line by defender Mikey Miller.
At the other end there were two late efforts on the Saints’ goal from Mullen, but neither troubled Harrison as the Saints saw out the remainder of the game with ease.