Livingston and Motherwell failed to sparkle on the opening day of the new Scottish Premiership season.
The visitors, who had posted four wins from four in the group stage of the League Cup, failed to make it a fifth as they drew a blank in front of goal.
However, both sides remain undefeated, with Motherwell yet to concede a goal.
Richard Tait passed up Motherwell’s best chance, while Nicky Devlin almost won the game for the home side in the dying minutes.
Motherwell’s Jake Carroll and the hosts’ Aymen Souda had forced good first-half saves, but it was a game of few clear-cut chances.
Getting to know you or pretty rubbish?
These teams sailed through their League Cup groups, but a goalless draw was a fitting outcome as neither side produced sufficient quality to deserve more from the game, though their battling qualities could not be faulted.
Both squads have undergone fairly major surgery over the summer, so with unknown quantities for the opponents to come to terms with, the opening half-hour could politely be described as a getting-to-know-you phase. Alternatively, it was pretty rubbish – scrappy, overly-physical and lacking in coherent, passing football.
Livingston manager Gary Holt’s mantra last season was “we start each match with a point, let’s make sure we don’t lose that”. That is an ethos that has not changed for his side’s second season in the top tier. His players battled and bustled. Motherwell did likeWISe. And the result was not pretty.
But suddenly the ball players on each side had saw enough and a game of football broke out. Jermaine Hylton began to wriggle away from challenges – on one occasion releasing the overlapping Carroll, who brought out a fine one-handed save from Ross Stewart.
Livingston, not to be outdone, tested Mark Gillespie to the fullest. Souda’s overhead kick was well kept out, as was a powerful Alan Lithgow header, and when Gillespie was beaten, former Livingston defender Declan Gallagher was on the line to head Scott Pittman’s goalbound shot away.
The stalemate would not be broken though as Gillespie stood up well to keep out Devlin.
Man of the match – Aymen Souda
Tough call as no player really excelled, but Souda was lively throughout and had the game’s best effort – an acrobatic scissors kick, which Gillespie did well to turn round the post.
The Frenchman looks like a player who will excite the Livingston fans and it was a little surprising to see him replaced by manager Holt with a quarter of the match remaining.
Motherwell remain solid at the back – stats
‘We’ll be better against Celtic’ – post-match reaction
Livingston head coach Gary Holt: “I think we had the better chances and it was nice to see we had a bit of spine that we had been missing, apparently. A first clean sheet of the season – I’ll take that.
“We’re not going to go away from what we are. We’re comfortable in our skin, we know what we need to do in every game.”
“This is different from any other game. The surface, how Livi play. It might have been a wake-up call for some of the new boys, but there’s a lot more to come. We’ve a tough game next week, but we’ll certainly be better than that.”
- 21McMillanSubstituted forPepeat 73′minutes
- 20SoudaSubstituted forSibbaldat 68′minutes
- 9DykesBooked at 51minsSubstituted forMillerat 82′minutes
- 3CarrollBooked at 90mins
- 22DonnellyBooked at 79mins
- 14HyltonSubstituted forColeat 81′minutes
- 16IlicBooked at 18minsSubstituted forSeedorfat 45′minutes
- 17ScottSubstituted forLongat 52′minutes
- David Munro
- Shots on Target
Match ends, Livingston 0, Motherwell 0.
Second Half ends, Livingston 0, Motherwell 0.
Attempt blocked. Declan Gallagher (Motherwell) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.
Foul by Marvin Bartley (Livingston).
Sherwin Seedorf (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Jake Carroll (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Nicky Devlin (Livingston) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Jake Carroll (Motherwell).
Attempt missed. Declan Gallagher (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box is too high following a corner.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Keaghan Jacobs.
Corner, Livingston. Conceded by Devante Cole.
Foul by Jake Carroll (Motherwell).
Marvin Bartley (Livingston) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt missed. Declan Gallagher (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left following a corner.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Cécé Pepe.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Ross Stewart.
Attempt saved. Declan Gallagher (Motherwell) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Scott Pittman.
Attempt saved. Nicky Devlin (Livingston) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner.
Substitution, Livingston. Lee Miller replaces Lyndon Dykes.
Substitution, Motherwell. Devante Cole replaces Jermaine Hylton.
Marvin Bartley (Livingston) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Allan Campbell (Motherwell).
Attempt saved. Chris Long (Motherwell) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Liam Donnelly (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.
Charles Dunne (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Lyndon Dykes (Livingston).
Substitution, Livingston. Cécé Pepe replaces Jack McMillan because of an injury.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Jack McMillan.
Substitution, Livingston. Craig Sibbald replaces Aymen Souda.
Attempt saved. Richard Tait (Motherwell) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Allan Campbell (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Aymen Souda (Livingston).
Jake Carroll (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Scott Pittman (Livingston).
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Marvin Bartley.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Ricki Lamie.
Foul by Jermaine Hylton (Motherwell).
Nicky Devlin (Livingston) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt missed. Jermaine Hylton (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.