ivingston, now 14 games unbeaten under an unlikely hero, showed just why they are the talk of football as manager David Martindale’s now admits European football is in their sights.

Aberdeen say they’re keen to capitalise on Celtic’s recent failings and aiming for a Premiership runners-up spot, but their opponents last night jeapordised such a dream with two first half goals that shocked the hosts.

And now, with four European places up for grabs for next season, the West Lothian outfit dares to believe they could grab one of those, although Martindale was wary of making such a firm prediction.

“It has to be an aspiration,” he said, recognising his team sit just five points behind Aberdeen in the Premiership table.

“But top six, we spoke about that on Monday, and how we would probably feel it was a poor season if we don’t get that.

“We would be disappointed at the end of the season even though we have reached the Betfred Cup final, we have no guarantee of winning. So, we want to be in the top six and if we can do that then you never know what can happen.

“I thought we were fairly comfortable. We scored two good goals and apart from the one Aberdeen hit the bar, the keeper didn’t have much to do.

“I was really proud of them tonight.”

The Lions roared into action, despite having lost two players - skipper Jon Guthrie and substitute Craig Sibbald – to pre-match warm-up injuries, and proceeded to display the drive and determination they’ve shown since Martindale ‘s elevation to manager.

They may have been aided by a lethargy in the home side, but Livi’s willingness to battle for every ball and to press a Dons defence rocked by the loss of those early goals, was what won it for them.

Their downfall started with a major faux pas by Joe Lewis in the seventh minute. Manager Derek McInnes watched Julien Serrano gather the ball wide on the left then fire in a low cross towards the Dons’ keeper’s near post.

What followed next was one for the Lewis’s “moments to forget” video as he fumbled the ball into the goal. Own goal? Serrano and his team-mates didn’t care.

But worse was to come for the hosts in the 16th minute. With the visitors making all the running, a high, searching ball from Josh Mullin on the right found Nicky Devlin, captain in Guthrie’s absence, and his header, free of impediment from any Aberdeen defender, powered past a hapless Lewis.

It underlined a raggedness in Aberdeen’s play as their opponents displayed a tenacity and persistence lacking in the home side and when Ash Taylor and Connor McLennan were injured just before the break and replaced by Dean Campbell and Callum Hendry, on loan from St Johnstone, McInnes knew luck wasn’t on his side.

Nor was it soon after the break when Lewis Ferguson’s pile-driver of a strike from distance rattled the Livi crossbar and bounced on the goal-line and into the arms of keeper Max Stryjek.

Still, it lifted Aberdeen and from that point they looked more interested and eager as they began to make the Livingston defence work harder for their wages.

Yet, for all of that pressure, it was Martindale’s men who came closest to scoring, courtesy of Scott Pittman’s break and low shot that smacked off the base of the post.

“It was such a poor performance,” McInnes admitted, “especially in the first half. Half-time couldn’t come quickly enough.

“The goal unnerved us, there’s no doubt about it. It was a terrible goal to lose. The second was every bit as bad, not an individual error, but it should have been dealt with so much better.”