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Livingston suffer Premiership relegation after heavy defeat at Motherwell
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Ronnie Esplin
Press Association
Theo Bair scored twice for Motherwell (Jeff Holmes/PA)
Theo Bair scored twice for Motherwell (Jeff Holmes/PA)

Livingston were relegated from the cinch Premiership following a hefty 4-1 defeat by Motherwell at Fir Park.

Well striker Theo Bair netted a penalty in the 21st minute following a VAR intervention and returning attacker Sam Nicholson thundered in a glorious second just before the break.

Bair headed in a second in the 68th minute before Dan Casey knocked in a fourth in the 74th minute, with Livi substitute Joel Nouble reducing the deficit two minutes later.

Ross County beat Hibernian 2-1 to increase the gap over Livingston to 12 points with only three games remaining, while St Johnstone, who dropped into the relegation play-off spot with a 1-0 defeat at Aberdeen, are 10 points clear.

The Lions will finish bottom of the table after spending six seasons back in the top flight.

David Martindale’s side have struggled all season – only winning four league games – and it was really a case of when not if they would go down.

Livingston will have to regroup and rebuild in the summer before they bid to get back to the Premiership next season.

Nicholson, in for the suspended Jack Vale, hit the side netting with an early effort before the visitors spurned two chances to open the scoring.

Well defender Shane Blaney thwarted Livi striker Bruce Anderson as he raced in on goal and took too long to shoot. Livi midfielder Stephen Kelly then broke clear following a Motherwell corner but dragged his shot wide of the far post.

A long check by VAR Euan Anderson for a possible handball by Livi defender Mikey Devlin in blocking a Georgie Gent cross for a corner ended with referee David Munro looking at his pitchside monitor and pointing to the spot, albeit it seemed a harsh decision.

Bair stepped up and fired low into the corner of the net past the diving Livingston goalkeeper Shamal George for his 14th goal of the season.

The visitors again looked all out of luck.

Just after the half-hour mark Livi midfielder Scott Pittman had the ball in the net but was ruled out for an earlier foul by Anderson.

George repelled Bair’s close-range header from a Gent cross in the 38th minute but two minutes into three added on at the end of the first half, Nicholson picked up a Stephen O’Donnell pass and hammered a drive from 25 yards in off the crossbar.

Tete Yengi replaced Livi midfielder Jason Holt for the start of the second half but Motherwell were quickly on the offensive and Andy Halliday came close with a long-distance effort and Nicholson just missed a cross from Gent a yard or two from goal.

Motherwell’s third goal was a counter-attacking masterclass.

Lennon’s quick pass from a loose ball sent Gent scarpering down the left and his inch-perfect cross to the back post found Bair, who headed high past the helpless George.

Any belief that Livingston may have had was in tatters when Casey headed in a corner from Blair Spittal.

However Nouble, who came on for Dan Mackay around the hour mark, looped a Jamie Brandon cross over Well keeper Liam Kelly and in off the far post, in a rare moment of positivity for the Lions and there was time for Well substitute Moses Ebiye to smack the outside of a post.


Scottish PremiershipLivingstonMotherwell
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