St Johnstone match preview

Livi return to action after a ten-day break as St Johnstone come guising at the Tony Macaroni Arena for a Hallowe’en humdinger in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Fans will be hoping for a treat rather than a trick as the Lions welcome Tommy Wright’s side to West Lothian for the first time since 2009 for what is just the fourth top-flight meeting between the two sides, and the first since 2002.

The Saints come into the match on the back of consecutive wins over Motherwell and St Mirren while Gary Holt’s side will go looking for a ninth match without defeat in the league. With that in mind, let’s look ahead to the big match.

How have the Perth side done so far this season?

Saints made a strong start to the season as they qualified from their Betfred Cup group as seeded group winners as they followed up a penalty shootout win over East Fife with victories over Montrose, Falkirk (both 1-0) and Forfar Athletic 3-1).

Their reward in the second round was a trip to Championship side Queen of the South. After Tony Watt’s strike was cancelled out by Lyndon Dykes, the tie went to extra time which turned into a goalfest as Watt, Drey Wright and Callum Hendry sealed a 4-2 victory, Stephen Dobbie grabbing Queens’ consolation. Their run ended in the last eight with a 1-0 defeat at home to Celtic.

After picking up just one point from their first two Premiership games, following up a 2-0 defeat at Kilmarnock with a 1-1 home draw against Hibernian, Saints racked up consecutive wins as a 1-0 victory over Dundee, courtesy of a Tony Watt strike, was added to by a 2-1 victory at Hamilton.

After a 1-1 draw with Aberdeen at McDiarmid Park, Saints suffered three consecutive loses, heavy defeats to Rangers (5-1) and Celtic (6-0) either side of a 2-1 loss to league leaders Hearts at Tynecastle. Back-to-back wins followed as Jason Kerr’s injury-time header earned a 1-0 success at Motherwell before goals from David Wotherspoon and Matty Kennedy sealed a 2-0 victory at home to St Mirren, despite a pair of penalty misses from Watt and Liam Craig.

All that brings Saints to town sitting in seventh place in the Ladbrokes Premiership, with 14 points from ten matches.

Is there any team news ahead of the big game?

Livi snapped up Dutch defender Henk van Schaik on a free transfer after he left F.C. Twente but he is unlikely to feature against Saints, with boss Gary Holt marking him out as one for the future although he did admit that he would likely find himself in the first team reckoning in the near future.

Long term absentees Raffaele De Vita and Lee Miller remain absent while Ryan Hardie’s fitness is unclear after setback in his recovery following his substitute appearance against Hamilton.

For St Johnstone, Danny Swanson returns from suspension while Drey Wright may miss out after picking up a knock. Blair Alston, Steven Anderson and Brian Easton will definitely miss out.

How have the two sides fared against each other over the years?

The two sides have met 21 times since first doing battle way back in 1995 in what was only Livi’s third-ever match following the move from Meadowbank. It also proved to be their first ‘giant-killing’ as the Third Division Lions saw off their First Division opponents on penalties after a 1-1 draw at McDiarmid Park.

The two sides met in the Scottish Cup  in 1999, Saints winning 3-1 at the West Lothian Courier Stadium (as it was then known) before they met for the first time on league duty in the top flight in 2001/02, with the honours shared across their three meetings – a home win apiece after a 2-2 draw in Perth.

Livi dominated their next season of league meetings, taking ten points out of twelve First Division points in 2006/07 but have won only twice in 11 meetings since. The overall record shows 11 wins for Saints and seven for the Lions, with four draws.

What do the bookies make of Saturday’s match?

League sponsors Ladbrokes make Livi favourites to secure a fifth consecutive home league win at odds of 6/5. The visitors are 5/2 to claim a third straight victory with the draw available at 21/10.

All of Livi’s wins over St Johnstone have been by a single goal, with four of those by a score of 2-1. A repeat of that scoreline is available at 17/2.

How much is it to get in?

Admission prices for Wednesday’s match are as follows:

  • Adults – £24
  • Concessions* – £16
  • Under-16s – £10

* 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)

Both home and away fans can purchase tickets from our ticket office (next to turnstiles 1 & 2 in the West Stand. We recommend arriving early to avoid queues.

The Stadium Bar will be open from 6pm until just before kick off, then again from full-time until 11pm for fans to chew the fat beforehand and dissect the action afterwards.

I’ve got my ticket, what else do I need?

As always, our official travel partners First Scotland East are offering 20% discount on fares to an from the match on production of a valid match or season ticket.

Click here for timetable information.

You can also download our online match day magazine ‘Roar’, including video interviews with Lee Miler and Keaghan Jacobs and other great content here.

We look forward to seeing you on Hallowe’en night!

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