Holt won’t criticise ‘exceptional’ Dykes for penalty miss

The Livingston striker saw his last-minute spot-kick saved by St Johnstone goalkeeper Zander Clark.

By Press Association Published: 11 August 2019 - 11.32am

Gary Holt has insisted he will not criticise Lyndon Dykes after the striker’s late missed penalty prevented Livingston from earning a dramatic victory over St Johnstone.

Dykes had the opportunity to win a see-saw match for the Lions when he was bundled over in the box by Richard Foster in the last minute.

However, the Australian struck his spot-kick weakly and goalkeeper Zander Clark’s save ensured Saints’ second-half comeback was not in vain as the match finished 2-2.

Livingston roared into a deserved half-time lead thanks to Scott Pittman’s well-worked opener and a second from Steven Lawless.

But a mistake from Kyle Jacobs allowed Matty Kennedy to pull one back for the Perth side and substitute Callum Hendry levelled things up eight minutes from time.

With Saints seeking a late winner, Livingston could have snatched it but Dykes could not take advantage from the spot.

Manager Holt said: “I thought he [Dykes] was exceptional for us. I thought he had an outstanding performance and I feel for the big guy.

“I was standing on the touchline saying ‘smash it as hard as you can’. In the 90th minute, just hit it as hard as you can.

“If he makes a save with you blasting it then fair enough but it takes ‘cahonas’ to step up, with the pressure of the occasion, being 2-0 up and then we’re 2-2 and we get a penalty in the last minute.

“I’m never going to criticise someone stepping up and taking it.

“I’d have liked him to smash it, he probably wants it back to smash it, but that’s the way football goes.”

Livingston took a 13th-minute lead when Pittman swept in a flowing move that climaxed with a dangerous Lawless cross.

Lawless then fired in the second after concerted pressure from the visitors following a swift counter-attack.

However, when Jacobs was short with a pass-back it allowed Michael O’Halloran to nip in ahead of keeper Ross Stewart and Kennedy took advantage to give Saints hope.

And their recovery was complete in the 82nd minute when Hendry blasted in the rebound after Stewart had repelled a Chris Kane shot from close range.

Saints manager Tommy Wright praised his side’s character following their 7-0 humiliation against champions Celtic on the opening weekend.

He said: “It was a hard week for them all.

“But they showed character and the fans, even though there were a few boos at half-time and early in the second half, they got behind them in the second half because we gave them something.

“But I know there is still a lot more to come from them.”