Holt’s ral­ly­ing cry as cham­pi­ons come call­ing

West Lothian Courier - - The Back Page - Cal­lum Car­son

Liv­ingston boss Gary Holt says Celtic won’t get it all their own way when the cham­pi­ons visit West Loth­ian on Sun­day.

The Glas­gow side are in em­phatic form af­ter a slightly shaky start to the sea­son and go into the clash on the back of a 5-0 trounc­ing of league lead­ers Hearts last week­end.

De­spite that, Holt is con­fi­dent his Li­ons will make the vis­i­tors earn ev­ery­thing they get at the sold-out Tony Mac­a­roni Arena.

Speak­ing to the Courier, the for­mer Scot­land in­ter­na­tional said: “This club has worked re­ally hard to get to this level and earn the right to be host­ing teams like Celtic in front of a full house and we need to go out there and em­brace the fact that we’re now at that level.

“Why would we sud­denly get wor­ried about it be­ing against Celtic or the fact that it’s live on TV? Let’s em­brace it, let’s have a go and show what we can do.

“We’ll roll up our sleeves and give it our best shot. We know it’s go­ing to be tough, we know we’re go­ing to have to be at our best, but let’s have a go and see what hap­pens.

“We’re play­ing against a team that has won back-to-back tre­bles and could very well do it again this year, but there’s noth­ing to fear. This game isn’t go­ing to de­fine our sea­son.

“Yes, we want to do well and yes we want to win the game or at least take some­thing out of it. But the one thing I know is that come the end of the 90 min­utes, Celtic will know they’ve been in a game.”

He added: “We want them to know they’ve had to fight for what­ever they get and that they’ve been in a tough game. I’m not hav­ing folk go­ing into their shell and not giv­ing it ev­ery­thing.”

The Li­ons go into the clash on the back of con­sec­u­tive de­feats, but Holt be­lieves the con­fi­dence of his play­ers hasn’t taken a dip, say­ing: “Ob­vi­ously we don’t like los­ing games but we need to be the same in terms of abil­ity and con­fi­dence go­ing into ev­ery game be­cause we can’t af­ford to not be at 100 per cent or all doom and gloom.

“We were poor against St John­stone but on Satur­day against Hamil­ton we were 100 per cent at it and tried to win the game. We played with con­fi­dence and abil­ity.

“We cre­ated plenty of chances and re­ally lost the game to a poor goal from our point of view – but that’s the fine lines at this level.

“As an away team, we were on the front foot and just didn’t take our chances. Some­times, that’s just foot­ball.

“I can’t fault them for their ef­fort, whereas against St John­stone there was some­thing lack­ing. It seemed like folk were maybe wait­ing on some­body else do­ing some­thing, but there was none of that on Satur­day.

“I feel for the lads be­cause they ac­tu­ally played re­ally well but these things hap­pen.

“My­self and the coach­ing staff need to make sure that we set the en­vi­ron­ment that al­lows them to bounce back and keep that con­fi­dence.”

Liv­ingston go into Sun­day’s noon kick- off clash with­out long- term in­jured at­tack­ing trio of Ryan Hardie, Lee Miller and Raf­faele de Vita but have an oth­er­wise fully fit squad.

Big plans Gary Holt says his Livi team will be ready for Celts

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