The Bully Wee recalled Dusan Bestvina, Kevin Bradley, Christian Smith, David McGowan and Marvyn Wilson to the starting line-up in a defensive 451 formation that saw Ruari McLennan providing the main support to lone-striker McGowan. Unfortunately Pat Clarke and Captain Craig McKeown missed out through injury; the captaincy went to Neil McGregor.
A poor first half saw Livingston dominate possession but the protective midfield shield of Smith and Wilson allowed them little in the way of shooting opportunities. Any chances fell to their young striker, Leigh Griffiths and nearly always were due to his pace and movement. The first saw a neat flick-on by Robert Snodgrass release Griffiths on goal but he chose to try and lift a shot over David Hutton and the ball floated well over the cross bar. Then, Hutton was forced into his only save of the half as a low ball across the 6 yard box gave Griffiths a chance but the Clyde ‘keeper did well to block his effort. A fussy referee booked Neil McGregor for wrestling with Snodgrass and Griffiths for a stray elbow as he rose for a header as the play deteriorated towards the interval.
The second half saw Clyde take charge of possession and manage to create a couple of chances. After both Billy Gibson and Michael McGowan had strikes from distance fly past the post, Bradley produced the most threatening shot of the game with a volley from 25 yards that skipped off of the turf before striking the post. The impressive Wilson and Michael McGowan then both received yellow cards for dissent and a late tackle respectively.
Livingston have carved out a reputation as a free-flowing passing side and have indeed looked impressive in previous matches this season. However, on this occasion they struggled to create chances and apart from one goalmouth scramble that saw Hutton seize on a loose ball they were left to rely on speculative long range efforts from Griffiths. Their frustration was shown as Graham Dorrans, a player who has already been snapped up by Championship side West Bromwich Albion for next season, was booked for slapping the ball in anger at a refereeing decision.
As play petered out towards the predictable goal-less draw, there was to be one final chance for Clyde. A corner by substitute Steven Masterton was headed towards goal by Bestvina where it was to fall nicely for McGregor, only for the skipper to slice over the bar from 6 yards with the goal gaping. A very good chance but McGregor was off balance and that chance summed up the overall lack of quality in the game.
With Morton losing at Hamilton, Clyde will be disappointed not to leapfrog them ahead of Tuesday’s crucial game at Broadwood. Given the display against Partick Thistle, it was pleasing to see a Clyde side that looked solid defensively. Both Higgins and Gibson dealt well with good wide players and Bestvina just edged out McGregor for man of the match. Perhaps the key difference was the introduction of Wilson and Smith in midfield, giving protection to the backline. There was a lack of creativity in forward areas but hopefully the return of Clarke will solve this.
|March 8, 2008