DAVID Hopkin believes Ryan Hardie’s performance in his first start for Livingston at the weekend showed why so many clubs had been desperate to take the Rangers striker on loan.

Hardie netted in the first half of a Ladbrokes Championship match against Dumbarton at Almondvale on Saturday shortly after Alan Lithgow had given the home side the lead.

The 2-0 victory moved the East Lothian club above Dunfermline and into third spot in the table and improved their chances of securing a place in the end-of-season Premiership play-offs.

Former Leeds United and Scotland midfielder Hopkin was delighted the 20-year-old forward had justified the lengths that Livingston went to in order to secure his services until the end of the 2017/18 campaign.

“It was great for Ryan to come in and get a goal,” he said. “That’s why we brought him to the club. We fought hard to get him.

“He runs channels and he’s always got a chance of scoring. There were six or seven clubs that wanted him. You could see why on Saturday.”

The away defeat saw Dumbarton fall three points behind Falkirk, who romped to a 3-1 triumph over resurgent Inverness Caledonian Thistle at home on Saturday, in second bottom spot in the Championship.

However, Steve Aitken, the Dumbarton manager, is refusing to panic with 14 games still to play before the second tier club which has to play in the Championship play-off is decided.

He said: “There’s a lot of games left. We want to make sure we’re the best part-time team in Scotland and we’re still on course to do that.”

Elsewhere, Queen of the South remained in fifth place and contention for a play-off place thanks to a 3-1 win over bottom-placed Brechin City at Palmerston Park. Stephen Dobbie netted a hat-trick for the home side.