Gary Holt admitted he enjoyed the “perfect start” to his Livingston career after a comfortable 2-0 victory over St Mirren.
First-half goals from Jack Hamilton and Alan Lithgow earned Livi their first Ladbrokes Premiership win two days after Holt arrived in West Lothian to replace departed player/manager Kenny Miller.
Holt left the Simple Digital Arena without talking to most of the waiting media after not realising what his post-match commitments were.
He otherwise enjoyed as smooth a reintroduction to the managerial hotseat as he could have imagined.
Saints did not have a shot on target and Livingston could have won by more than two goals as they outfought and outplayed their fellow Premiership newcomers.
Holt told BBC Scotland: “It’s the perfect start. It’s a better start than I had when I was at Falkirk and I was 3-0 up at half-time in a Scottish Cup semi-final and lost 4-3 after extra-time, so I had the highs and lows of that.
“To get a win in your first game is what you want, to see the boys trying to implement the wee things you have asked them to do and carrying on the good work we’ve done already is really pleasing.
“I asked them to play with a smile and enjoy your work because that’s what it is – work. It’s football but it’s your work. Enjoy it and play with a smile. I thought we got that.”
There were no smiles from home boss Alan Stubbs after a third consecutive defeat.
Stubbs hit out at his side’s defending after both Hamilton and Lithgow netted following corners.
“We shot ourselves in the foot,” he said. “We conceded two really disappointing goals from set-pieces. That is what Livingston do, they put teams under pressure, and we haven’t dealt with it.
“Whether it’s through a lack of concentration… But I think the biggest thing is desire to go and win the ball and we didn’t do that.
“They have got five players over six foot and we have five defensive players out. What we had was bare bones and we knew they were going to be a threat from that kind of ball.
“But it doesn’t make a difference if you are 5ft 10in or 6ft 2in, if you go and compete, you can win the ball. And I didn’t think we competed enough.
“When I was playing, if I wasn’t going to win it, you certainly weren’t going to get a free header.
“Whatever means it takes – an elbow, head them in the back of the head, anything – but he doesn’t get a free header. We have seen boys in their team getting free headers in the box, which I can’t accept.”
Stubbs added: “When you give any team two goals you have a mountain to climb. And conceding those two goals affected the confidence, you could see that.
“There were too many misplaced passes, maybe taking too long to play the pass because that little bit of doubt and anxiety creeps into the play.”
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