Today Livingston FC welcome Motherwell FC to the Tony Macaroni Arena in the last 16 of the Betfred Cup, a competition which The Steelmen reached the final of last year.
This afternoon’s fixture is the 20th meeting between Livi and ‘Well in all competitions, and the third occasion on which the sides have faced each other in the League Cup.
Motherwell’s campaign so far;
Their season kicked off with a bang, winning 5-0 at home to Edinburgh City in their opening game of the Betfred Cup. Goals from Curtis Main and Richard Tait, and an Elliot Frear hat-trick saw ‘Well easily dispose of City.
Next up was a trip to Stair Park, and a difficult encounter with Stranraer which would provide a shock result. Motherwell took the lead through Peter Hartley in the first half, but Isaac Layne equalised for the Blues ensuring a shootout to decide who would take home the bonus point. It would be Stranraer to win on penalties, dealing a blow to Stephen Robinson’s side early in the competition.
A Conor Sammon double saw Motherwell down Queen of the South in a comfortable 2-0 victory, but up next was a visit to League Two Clyde. David Goodwillie put the Bully Wee in front in the first half, and Clyde held their lead until 14 minutes to go when Curtis Main tapped in. Motherwell proved to be too strong in the end, as goals from Danny Johnson and Conor Sammon secured a 3-1 win, putting Motherwell at the top of their group with 10 points.
Robinson’s men haven’t kicked off their league campaign as well though, with two defeats from their opening two, including a loss in the Lanarkshire Derby against Hamilton. Their opening Premiership encounter saw a Sunday trip to Easter Road, to take on Neil Lennon’s Hibernian. Goals from Martin Boyle, Stevie Mallan and Oli Shaw secured a comfortable 3-0 win for the Hibees, making it a poor start for the Steelmen.
Next up, Hamilton travelled to Fir Park and claimed all three points as a Steven Boyd wonder strike was enough to seal the victory for Martin Canning’s men. The former Livi loanee received the ball in the air from a deflected free-kick, and volleyed past Carson into the top corner, a goal fit to win any game.
With two defeats in the league, and no goals scored, Stephen Robinson will admit his side haven’t been at their best. But, they have shown the ability to find the back of the net in BetFred Cup matches, a competition in which the Northern Irishman strives in. With 12 matches in the competition, Robinson has 10 victories to his name, with one draw against Stranraer and of course their only defeat coming at the hands of BetFred Cup holders Celtic in last year’s final.
Livingston – The Lions have no new injuries, but Ryan Hardie, Raffaele De Vita and Craig Sibbald remain sidelined.
Motherwell – Chris Cadden, winger and twin brother of Livi’s Nicky, is a doubt for the Steelemen today, as is Liam Grimshaw. Liam Donnelly, Charles Dunne, Ryan Bowman and Craig Tanner are unavailable for ‘Well today through injury.
How it’s gone before;
The first encounter between the clubs took place on the 25th of August 2001 in a league game at Fir Park, which ended in a goalless draw. It remains the only time that a match between the sides has ended without a goal. That game marked the first in a series of six meetings during which Livi failed to taste defeat. In fact, The Lions won five consecutive games against the Fir Park men before that run was brought crashing to an end in a thumping 6-1 league defeat in Lanarkshire on the 24th of May 2003. Despite that setback, Livi’s domination continued and the West Lothian side won two of the subsequent three meetings, drawing the other, so that only one of those first ten encounters ended in a loss.
However, the sides have met on nine occasions since the end of that streak and it’s the Lanarkshire club that has enjoyed the upper hand by winning eight of those games, including a 5-0 thrashing of Livi at Almondvale on the 9 th of November 2004 in the League Cup. The other meeting in Motherwell’s nine-game unbeaten run against Livi ended in a 1-1 draw.
Overall, the Fir Park club has scored 32 of the 58 goals in clashes between the sides, representing 55% of the total. Even so, ignoring both victories in cup competitions, league fixtures have been too close to call. There have been 17 league meetings, with both clubs winning an equal share (7 victories each) and scoring exactly the same number of goals (25 each).
This is the 12th visit that Motherwell have made to face Livi in West Lothian. The Lanarkshire club has won five of the previous eleven, with the home side also having won on five occasions. The only draw in West Lothian was in March 2005, when a goal from Scott MacDonald in the first half was cancelled out by a Stephen Craigan own goal in the 81st minute.
The most recent meeting between the sides was almost five years ago, on the 25th of September 2013, which saw the visitors defeat The Lions 2-1 in an eventful League Cup encounter. Goals from Bob McHugh and James McFadden saw Stuart McCall’s side ease into the quarter final draw, after Livi’s Jason Talbot had been sent off and, despite a Danny Denholm strike for the home side, the Lanarkshire side held on to the victory.
What do the bookies predict?
Ladbrokes have this one down as a fairly even contest, with Motherwell slight favourites at 6/4. The Lions are priced at 7/4, whilst a draw is 2/1.
A tenner on Kenny Miller to score first would return £80.
How much is it to get in?
Prices are £18 for adults and £12 for concessions. Children aged 12 and under will get in for free. Concessions are under 18s, those aged 65 and over, and full-time students who show a valid matriculation card. It also applies to disabled supporters, with carers going free. Free tickets for children are limited to three per each paying adult.