Barry Smith said his Fifers had to show a different side to seal a dramatic win at the home of the league leaders.
Under pressure for large parts of the game, the Methil club secured the win in the closing minutes when Jason Kerr bundled home a loose ball.
It was a deserved reward for what was one of the most impressive defensive performances the side in black in gold have put on this term.
And Smith was delighted to see his side graft and throw their bodies on the line to ensure they took the points.
He said: “We had to dig in because Livingston are a good team.
“We had to handle a lot of the long balls they threw into the box.
“Jason Kerr and Jonathan Page handled the majority of it very well. Then all it takes is one chance to win the game and we took it.”
New signing Alex Cooper was handed a place on the bench but it was the home side who started the game with real intent and crashed the ball off the bar with barely 30 seconds on the clock through a Scott Pittman drive.
East Fife had keeper Mark Hurst to thank for keeping the scores level on seven minutes when he pulled off a double save to deny Josh Mullin.
The Fifers had to withstand a bombardment from their hosts but gradually grew into the game and there was an opening for Kevin Smith a few yards from goal but he couldn’t convert.
Livi went close 10 minutes before the break when Nikolay Todorov did well to clip a through ball over Hurst but Kerr got back to clear.
The leaders pushed hard and Declan Gallagher saw a header bounce back off the bar before Nikki Paterson cleared his strike off the line.
There was a stunning end to the match when the visitors scored the late winner.
Liam Kelly palmed a Paterson free-kick down and Kerr bundled home the loose ball.