League action takes a back seat this weekend as the Lions set off on the ‘Road to Hampden’ tomorrow, potentially just five wins away from the final on 19 May.
OK so the chance of Livi contesting the showpiece at the end of the season probably aren’t great, but then again not many expected us to be sitting third in the Championship a third of the way through the season either!
Livi’s first step on the road to the National Stadium is an historic one as they welcome Junior opposition to West Lothian in competitive action for the very first time. It’s a momentous occasion for the visitors too as 2017 Scottish Junior Cup winners Glenafton Athletic make the trip up from Ayrshire for a first-ever competitive clash with an SPFL side.
So let’s take a look ahead to tomorrow’s match.
How have Glens been doing so far this season?
Having won the double last season, adding the club’s first-ever West Region Super League title to their Cup success, the pressure was always going to be on for manager Craig McEwan, who has been in charge since 2015 having featured for Glens as a player in their Junior Cup Final defeat to Hurlford United back in 2014.
They have made a solid start to their title defence but find themselves in seventh place having played fewer games than any other side in the Super League. Having opened with a 1-0 home win over Clydebank, they suffered a 5-0 thrashing at Beith in their second league encounter. They are unbeaten in three games since, 1-1 draws with Arthurlie and Pollok either side of a 3-1 win at home to Kilbirnie Ladeside.
One cup competition has already been concluded, with Glens reaching the Final of the Ardagh Glass Sectional Cup. Having finished their group with a 100% record, they hammered Craigmark Burntonians 7-0 in the last-eight before a 1-0 win over Hurlford in the semis. They fell short in the final, though, as Auchinleck Talbot avenged their 1-0 defeat in the group stage, winning by the same score at Irvine’s Meadow Park to lift the trophy.
Their Junior Cup defence is also already underway, Glens reaching the third round with a 5-1 win over Dalry Thistle.
Tomorrow will mark the club’s fifth tie in this season’s William Hill Scottish Cup, having started in the first preliminary round back in August. Thumping wins over Newton Stewart (6-0) and Golspie Sutherland (6-1) set up a first round clash with South of Scotland League side Threave Rovers, which ended in a comfortable 4-0 win. A long trip to face Highland League side Deveronvale was their reward, but the journey proved worthwhile as Joe Andrew’s double sealed a 2-0 win and set up their landmark trip to West Lothian.
What happened last time we met?
As mentioned above, tomorrow marks the first ever meeting of the two sides.
What do the bookies think?
As you may expect, tournament sponsors William Hill make Livi strong favourites at 1/8 to book their place in the fourth round. If you fancy a giant-killing, Glens are available at 12/1 to spring an upset. You can get odds of 7/1 that the sides will have to do it all again in a replay at Loch Park.
Livi have met Junior opposition once before in the Scottish Cup, a Marc McNulty hat-trick inspiring a 6-0 win away to Irvine Meadow. If you fancy a repeat of that scoreline tomorrow, it’s available with Super League sponsors McBookie at 28/1.
Who is the man in the middle?
Tomorrow’s referee is Alan Newlands, who will be assisted by Willie Conquer and David McKniff.
We last crossed paths with Mr Newlands when he took charge of our 1-1 draw at home to Dunfermline Athletic on the opening day of the Championship season. It proved a busy afternoon for the referee as he awarded penalties to both sides, although the Pars’ award was far more contentious!
How much is it to get in?
Prices for tomorrow’s match are as follows:
Family (2 adults + 2 under-16s): £40
Admission is pay-at-the gate with Livi fans accommodated in the West Stand and Glens fans in the East Stand.
Hope to see you there!