Another solid team performance and emphatic win earned Motherwell a huge three points to further ease relegation worries.
A Devante Cole double had ‘Well in control before Jack Fitzwater’s goal raised Livi’s hopes.
Man of the match Cole, though, set up Christopher Long for a decisive third to make certain of the points lifting ‘Well’s total to 35 points and 10 ahead of Kilmarnock, whom they meet in two week’s time.
Graham Alexander not surprisingly stood by the side which performed superbly at Easter Road last week. Declan Gallagher, who returned from injury to enjoy the final 20 minutes last Saturday, had to be content with a place on the bench.
David Martindale’s men, aiming to put their Betfred Cup final defeat behind them, still needed points to secure their top-six place.
However, with five ex-Livi players in their squad, the Fir Park men had the measure of their opponents and controlled large spells of the game. In a dominant opening half-hour, they should have put the game beyond the Lions.
Straight from the kick-off, the Steelmen had the Lions pinned in their own half and within 90 seconds Robbie McCrorie had produced a couple of fine saves.
Firstly, the Livi ‘keeper raced from his line to block Jordan Roberts’ drive. Then as his defenders failed to clear the danger, Stephen O’Donnell latched on to the loose ball and rifled in a low shot which McCrorie at full stretch pushed round his post.
A minute later the visitors survived strong appeals for a penalty. Tony Watt got his foot to the ball before Aaron Taylor-Sinclair clattered through the back off him sending him to the ground. But despite loud appeals referee Colin Steven waved play on.
Watt was back on his feet to force a glancing header across the face of the goal before Cole rammed the ball into the side netting as ‘Well completely dominated the play.
The home side was forced into an early substitution, as Watt failed to shake off the impact of that earlier challenge and limped off after 23 minutes with Long taking his place in the front three.
Eight minutes later ‘Well finally made the breakthrough. Robbie Crawford’s pathway across the box was crudely blocked by Matej Poplatnik and at the second time of asking the referee pointed to the penalty spot.
Cole confidently grabbed his sixth goal since January, slamming the ball down the centre of the goal as the ‘keeper dived to his left.
At this stage, Livingston had scarcely been in the ‘Well half and Liam Kelly’s goal was under no threat until the minutes leading up to the interval.
A long throw from ex-Well defender Nicky Devlin found its way to Poplatnik and his powerful downward header forced a terrific save from Kelly low down to his right.
The ‘keeper was a spectator on the stroke of half-time, though, when Josh Mullin curled his free-kick from 25 yards over the defensive wall and off the top of the crossbar.
Livingston started the second half more determined to push towards the home goal and after 10 minutes made a double substitution to increase their goal threat.
It was the Fir Park men, though, who found the net again after 59 minutes.
Jake Carroll’s hammered his free-kick from 30 yards into the wall. As the ball bounced amongst the Livi defenders at the edge of the box, the ball fell for Cole who slid a low shot beyond the diving McCrorie for his second of the afternoon.
Before the home side could think about holding onto their two-goal lead, Livingston had reduced their advantage.
Devlin lofted a long free-kick into a packed box and when the ball reached Fitzwater at the corner of the six-yard box he stooped to head the ball across Kelly and just inside the ‘keeper’s left-hand post.
After 69 minutes Cole turned provider chesting down a poor clearance before playing the ball across field for Long.
The ‘Well sub sped towards the Livi goal before clipping the ball past the advancing ‘keeper for a fine finish and restore his side’s two-goal advantage.
Two minutes later only a brilliant intervention from Carroll prevented Livingston once again reducing ‘Well’s lead.
Alan Forrest worked the ball onto his left foot and his angled drive from 12 yards flew past Kelly and was destined for the back of the net. However, Carroll popped up on the goal line to scoop the ball high into the air allowing Kelly to grab it under his crossbar for a remarkable recovery.
Gallagher was given the final five minutes to help him regain match fitness but by the time a thoroughly deserved and crucial three points were in the bag.
Motherwell: Kelly, O’Donnell, Magloire, Lamie, Carroll, Maguire, Campbell, Crawford, Roberts (McGinley 90), Watt (Long 33, Gallagher 84), Cole.
Subs not used: Morrison, Devine, Polworth, Cornelius, Lawless, Hastie.