Clyde lose out in first round of Petrofac Cup

Michael Bolochoweckyj heads home Clyde's goal at Livingston.
Michael Bolochoweckyj heads home Clyde's goal at Livingston.

Barry Ferguson admits it will take time for his new look Clyde side to bed in and get back to enjoying their football.

The Clyde boss was speaking after the Bully Wee’s first competitive game of the season, a 2-1 Petrofac Training Cup defeat to Livingston.

“It’ll take time for the team to bed in”, Ferguson conceded. “The majority of the players we’ve signed have played at a higher level. It’s just trying to get them into our mindset. They’ve been at clubs where they’ve played a certain way, and not really enjoyed it.”

Ferguson also spoke highly of his team’s second-half performance despite being unable to hide his disappointment at the two goal head-start afforded to the Almondvale side.

“We knew when Livingston got the ball into forward areas, they weren’t going to hurt us. We let them pass it around at the back and that’s what they did. We had chances on the counter attack but it just wasn’t to be.”

The home side started their cup defence on the front foot and took an early lead through the impressive Danny Mullen. The 20 year-old picked the ball up midway into the Clyde half and unleashed an unstoppable drive that arrowed past John Gibbon.

The holders continued on the ascendency and nearly doubled their advantage through the nomadic figure of Myles Hippolyte. The Englishman worked a shooting chance but could only fire his effort straight into Gibbon’s hands.

Hippolyte then gave Livingston a two goal-cushion by doing what he had threatened to do minutes before. He once again worked a shooting opportunity on his left-foot but this time coolly dispatched the ball into the far corner, giving the hosts a comfortable lead.

However, conceding a second seemed to galvanise the Bully Wee as they soon started to mount some pressure of their own. The home side were fortunate not to be reduced to 10 men when Craig Sives felled David Gormley after the striker had wrestled free of any attention and into a goalscoring position.

Referee Crawford Allan consulted his assistant before deciding to spare the defender despite vociferous protests from the Clyde players and supporters alike.

Clyde’s aerial bombardment soon gave them a road back into the game though new signing Michael Bolochoweckyj. The former East Stirling man rose highest from a Sean Higgins corner and sent a bullet header past Darren Jamieson. The ball flew into the net via the left foot of Ben Gordon, who couldn’t quite keep it out despite his best efforts.

The second half was a fairly even affair. Livingston dominated the possession and territory but Clyde always looked a threat on the counter. David Gormley had a thankless task but played well in the lone striker role. His presence was dearly missed in the final quarter of the game as Clyde probed for an equaliser.

Livingston still looked a threat and nearly sealed the win when Liam Buchanan managed to divert a volley into the far corner. His effort was clawed away terrifically by John Gibbon though, keeping Clyde alive in the tie.

The Bully Wee finished the match with a series of corners, allowing the big men to venture forward. They were, however, unable to muster one last chance and the holders held on for a 2-1 victory. Livingston through, but not without a scare.

Clyde’s attention now turns to an identical fixture back at Almondvale on Saturday, this time in the League Cup. Ferguson admitted he’d rather not face the same side again at the weekend.

“We’d rather play someone else, but that’s the nature of the cup.”

Livingston: (Jamieson, Millen, Longridge, Sives, Gordon, Pittman, White, Mullen (Neill 90), Hippolyte, Gibbons, Buchanan (Glen85).

Clyde: (Gibbon, Linton, M. McLaughlin, Bolochoweckyj, Smith, S. McLaughlin (Ferguson 75), Murray, Gormley (Campbell 77), Higgins, Brisbane, Mitchell (McQueen 89).