Motherwell match preview

Livi take on Motherwell for the third time this season tomorrow as Stephen Robinson’s side make their second visit of the campaign to the Tony Macaroni Arena.

Our visitors have enjoyed the better of our two previous meetings this term, winning 1-0 in West Lothian in the second round of the Betfred Cup back in August before the two sides played out a 1-1 draw at Fir Park in October.

The Lions were perhaps a little unfortunate not to come out on top in that second encounter and will be determined to put that right tomorrow.

So with that in mind, let’s look ahead to tomorrow’s clash!

How have the Steelmen fared since we last met?

Well have played five matches in the Ladbrokes Premiership since we went head to head on 6 October, winning three and losing two.

Stephen Robinson’s men suffered an agonising defeat to St Johnstone at Fir Park on October 20th as Jason Kerr’s injury-time header gave Tommy Wright’s side a 1-0 victory that extended the Steelmen’s winless run to six games.

They ended that run next time out as they secured a 2-0 win over St Mirren at the Simple Digital Arena. Goals from David Turnbull and Chris Cadden either side of half time sealed the points before the Buddies’ Ryan Flynn was sent off. They made it back to back wins three days later as another long range strike from Turnbull sealed a 1-0 win over Dundee at Fir Park.

Their revival was brought to a shuddering halt the following week as they suffered a 7-1 mauling at Ibrox. After Curtis Main has cancelled out Scott Arfield’s opener, Rangers ran away with it after Carl McHugh has been sent off, goals from James Tavernier, Alfredo Morelos, Glenn Middleton, Arfield again and an Eros Grezda double rounded off a humiliating afternoon for ‘Well.

They bounced back in some style as they eased past Betfred Cup finalists Aberdeen 3-0 at Fir Park. Danny Johnson’s quickfire first-half double was added to by Turnbull’s third in four games after the break to seal a resounding victory.

What have the two bosses had to say about tomorrow’s match?

This weekend marks the first of eight games in December for the Lions, and first of five in the next 14 days, but Lions boss Gary Holt is excited for the challenging month ahead, saying: “I can’t wait, to be honest. Any footballer would rather be playing games than training so I love the fact we’ve got eight games coming up in December.

“That was my mentality when I was playing and I’m sure the players will feel that way as well.”

The gaffer also admitted his squad will be pushed to its limit during the crowded month but was confident it would bring the best out of his fringe players. He added: ““There will have to be changes on a game-to-game basis because there will be injuries, illnesses and suspensions that we’re going to have to battle with, but we’ve got a very good squad and it just becomes a case of next man up.

“Guys have stepped up when needed and performed well all season and I don’t expect that to change. Everyone who has come in has done well and taken their chances and that’s all you can ask for as a manager.”

Well boss Stephen Robinson knows his side, as one of only two teams to have won in West Lothian this season, are in for a difficult encounter tomorrow. He said: “We’re well aware it’s a tough game, we need to try and produce a similar type of performance as what we did on Saturday and against Dundee and St Mirren and make sure we’re well prepared for a fight.”

In a refreshing break with what has become something of a tradition in recent weeks, Robinson has no plans to use the pitch at the Tony Macaroni Arena as a cop-out in the event of a poor result, saying: “If you give players excuses they’ll take them, it’s just the nature of footballers! We’ve trained on AstroTurf all week and we’re well prepared, we won’t be using pitch as an excuse – win, lose or draw.”

Is there any team news ahead of the big game?

Livi are facing a bit of an injury crisis up front with Scott Robinson, who stood in for the suspended Dolly Menga at Ibrox last weekend, out with a hamstring injury.

Menga serves the final match of his suspension while long term casualties Ryan Hardie, Lee Miller and Raffaele De Vita are still out. Alan Lithgow is also set to miss out through a combination of injury and illness.

Motherwell will be without goalkeeper Trevor Carson for the foreseeable future after the Northern Irishman was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis. Chris Cadden and Craig Tanner are also ruled out through injury while Peter Hartley and Carl McHugh are suspended.

Aaron Taylor-Sinclair is back in light training, while late decisions will be made on Charles Dunne and Liam Donnelly.

What chance an away win?

League sponsors Ladbrokes make Livi narrow favourites for tomorrow’s clash at 13/8, with Motherwell priced at 9/5. The draw is available at 2/1.

The Lions’ first and last home wins over the Steelmen were both by a 3-1 scoreline in December 2001 and February 2004 – another one of those is available at 25/1.

Livi were 3-0 up at half-time in both of those encounters, so if you’re feeling ultra-ambitious and fancy backing a repeat, that’s 90/1.

Can I get a ticket?

Tickets will be available to purchase before kick-off. Home fans can purchase tickets from stadium reception or the ticket collection window next to turnstiles 1 and 2 while visiting fans can pick up their briefs from the Almondvale Suite beneath the south stand. Ticket prices are as follows:

£24 Adults

£16 Concessions*

£10 U16s

* Full time students on production of a current matriculation card, U18s, registered disabled (if with a carer and under 65 full price paid but carer admitted free)

I’ve got my ticket, how do I go about getting there?

As always, our travel partners First Scotland East are offering 20% off your bus fare within West Lothian and Edinburgh. Simply show your match or season ticket to our driver and ask for a FirstDay ticket (Zone L in West Lothian, Zone L&M for West Lothian and Edinburgh). Bus number 25 will get you to the stadium from Livingston North Station or buses 23/X23/24/25 from Haymarket Station. Bus number 21 and 25 will get you there from Bathgate and numbers X23/24/25 from Broxburn.

I can’t make the game, how can I keep up to date?

As ever, we will have live text commentary over on our Twitter from around 2.30pm. Highlights can be seen on Sportscene at 6pm on Sunday.

We look forward to seeing you tomorrow!

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