St Mirren claimed a first Scottish Premiership win since August with a Jake
Doyle-Hayes strike giving them a 1-0 victory at Livingston.
The former Aston Villa midfielder’s deflected effort early in the second half settled a scrappy encounter to ease Saints’ relegation worries.
It was a ninth league defeat of the season for Gary Holt’s side, who remain in 10th place just a point ahead of St Mirren having played three matches more.
Livingston had made five changes from the side that had beaten Airdrieonians in the Betfred Cup. Gary Maley, Julien Serrano, Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, Josh Mullin and Scott Robinson were replaced by Max Stryjek, Ciaron Brown, Steve Lawson, Jason Holt and Scott Pittman.
St Mirren were without the suspended Joe Shaughnessy after his red card against Queen’s Park, with Kristian Dennis and Cammy MacPherson also dropping out. In came Brandon Mason, Sam Foley and Jon Obika.
The home side had the first chance when Alan Forrest’s shot was pushed out by Jak Alnwick as far as Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, who headed wide.
The visitors replied with a free-kick that fell to Sam Foley who similarly could not get his header on target, before another Jamie McGrath free-kick bounced off Richard Tait and was easily saved.
Livingston looked most dangerous on the counter-attack and from one such burst forward McGrath picked up a booking for a late tackle on Pittman.
Emmanuel-Thomas then had another chance to put Holt’s men in front but his powerful shot was well blocked by Marcus Fraser.
The visitors forced a corner when Brown was robbed by Obika – and from McGrath’s ball in, Tait’s header was saved on the line.
Livingston started the second half on the front foot and after a free-kick was not cleared by St Mirren, Alan Forrest’s goalbound shot was well saved by Alnwick.
However, it was the Paisley team who made the decisive breakthrough after 56 minutes.
McGrath forced a corner after his shot was turned over the top by Jon Guthrie, and from the Irishman’s delivery Doyle-Hayes threaded a shot into the net with the aid of a deflection.
Holt made three substitutions to try to get back into the contest but the visitors held firm to record only a third league win of the season.
Livingston host Ayr United in the Scottish League Cup next Saturday; kick-off 3pm. St Mirren host Aberdeen in the same competition and on the same day; kick-off 5.15pm.