Hop­kin’s Liv­ingston off to a strong start to term

West Lothian Courier - - The Back Page - Cal­lum Car­son

Liv­ingston head coach David Hop­kin chal­lenged his play­ers not to let their stan­dards slip after a suc­cess­ful start to the sea­son.

A late Bet­fred Cup de­feat at Pre­mier­ship Hibs was sand­wiched in be­tween away league vic­to­ries against In­ver­ness Cale­do­nian This­tle and Falkirk in a hec­tic week for the club, with those re­sults see­ing the Lions sit­ting fourth in the Cham­pi­onship ta­ble after seven games.

They wel­come part-time Dum­bar­ton to the Tony Mac­a­roni Arena on Satur­day and the boss is de­ter­mined to see his side con­tinue their im­pres­sive form but knows pick­ing up three points will be no easy task.

He com­mented: “We had a very chal­leng­ing week and came away with two wins and three very good per­for­mances but the chal­lenge is to keep it up.

“We have a very dif­fi­cult home game against Dum­bar­ton who are a tough team to beat.

“Ste­vie Aitken has done a great job at the club and kept them in the Cham­pi­onship ev­ery year. That’s some­thing we need to em­u­late and look to­wards be­cause we want to be a sta­ble Cham­pi­onship side.

“They know how to play and pick up re­sults in this league and that’s been shown now over a num­ber of sea­sons. You only need to look at the ta­ble and their points tally to see that it’s go­ing to be a very tough game on Satur­day.”

He added: “It’s a very dif­fi­cult league and ev­ery game poses dif­fer­ent chal­lenges and for­ma­tions and ideas from the op­po­si­tion that you have to pre­pare for and take into ac­count. Dum­bar­ton have some at­tributes that they are very good at and we need to com­bat that.”

Livi will have to do with­out cen­tre- back De­clan Gal­lagher after his dis­missal against Falkirk with the gaffer be­liev­ing the de­fender was hard done by. He said: “The ref has given it as a straight red and I think it was a very harsh de­ci­sion. We couldn’t re­ally see it in the video but look­ing at it in real time it seemed harsh.

“It was a yel­low card for me and I don’t think any­one would have com­plained with him be­ing sent-off for two yel­lows, but it was a straight red and a two-game ban which I don’t think was cor­rect. It cer­tainly wasn’t a reck­less, dan­ger­ous chal­lenge.”

Join­ing Gal­lagher on the side­lines will be Ital­ian winger Raffa de Vita, who is re­cov­er­ing from an an­kle knock sus­tained last week against Hibs while Scott Robin­son and Ross Brown could also miss out due to in­jury.

For a full match re­port on Livi’s win over Falkirk, turn to pages 54-55.

Chal­lenge David Hop­kin

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