David Martindale admits Livingston were ‘spooked’ by conceding a penalty seconds into a heavy defeat at St Mirren.

Livi failed to recover from going behind in the opening moments after Luiyi de Lucas was penalised for handball. That set the tone for a nightmare first-half and a result which dents their Premiership top six ambitions.

Martindale, however, does believe they were wrongly denied a lifeline by an Andrew Shinnie effort that was adjudged not to have crossed the line.

“There’s not been many teams gave a penalty away in the first eight seconds of a game,” the manager said. “To say it was a bad start and got worse is probably a good analogy. 

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“We know what they’re going to do. We got a bit spooked from it and St Mirren got a lot of energy from it.

“We’d a legitimate goal from Shinnie in the first-half which St Mirren players say was in so I’m disappointed about that. It would’ve given us something to come out for.

“I’m hugely disappointed about the manner of the goals we lost, but in the modern day they’re probably both penalties. I don’t know how you jump without using your arms. I’ve come to accept it, I just hope we start getting them and I think we had a decent claim with Stephen Kelly.

“But the goals were two penalties and a shot because of our defending. They were cheap goals and we didn’t give ourselves any opportunities. We let ourselves down defending our area in the first-half and we won’t get anywhere playing the way we did in the first-half.

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“But we’re still in it and there’s a lot to play for. It’ll go to the wire. We’ve had one foot in the top six and never taken the opportunity to cement it. We’re still in the fight. 

“Every one will get to sleep at 3am, wake up at 7am and that four hours will be a broken sleep because you’re thinking about the game.”