League Cup duty beckons on Tuesday night as Inverness lock horns with an old enemy in the shape of Livingston FC at the Tony Macaroni Arena. (I kid you not). For most of us, it is better known as the Almondvale Stadium.
We have had many a tussle with Livingston over the years as both clubs came through the divisions together. Our first SPL game was a steep learning curve with a 3-0 defeat at Livingston. We did learn quickly though. Many familiar names playing for both sides back then in August 2004. Fortunes have changed since then and Livingston find themselves struggling at the foot of the Championship with only one point from seven games while we have the Scottish Cup in our trophy cabinet. Here's how the sides lined up back then.
Livingston: McKenzie, McNamee, Rubio, Dorado, McLaughlin, Boyack, O'Brien, Easton, Lovell, Lilley, Libbra (Hamilton 65).
Subs Not Used: Meldrum, McMenamin, Dair, Brittain, Snowdon, Bahoken.
Goals: O'Brien 44, Easton 57, Lovell 66.
Booked: Lovell, McNamee.
Inverness CT: Brown, Tokely, McCaffrey, Munro, Golabek, Wilson, Duncan (Hart 58), Keogh, McBain (Black 65), Hislop (Juanjo 58), Bayne.
Subs Not Used: Fraser, Dods, Proctor, Prunty.
Ach, nostalgia, it's not what it used to be.
Back to the future though and it's the 3rd Round of the competition. It's our first game in the event this season but for Livi, it's their third game. They saw off Clyde 1-0 in the first round, but it took extra time to do it, Jordan White scoring the all important goal. The second round saw them travel to Paisley and they came away with an excellent 3-2 win after a fiery encounter with the Buddies. It was not without controversy and they had six players booked and ended the game with ten men after Daniel Mullen was red carded. But after eight minutes of added time, it was Livingston that went into the draw thanks to goals from Liam Buchanan, Daniel Mullen and Declan Gallagher. That will be the same Liam Buchanan who had been around a bit and played for Partick Thistle and Dunfermline in the top flight, and the same lad has scored 125 goals in a 13 year senior career.
Livi have had a disastrous start to the season with only one point from seven games. Their goal difference is the worst in the League at -11 having scored only 4 times. Their solitary point came in a 1-1 draw at home to St Mirren, although there were encouraging signs for manager Mark Burchill in their last League game, a 1-0 defeat by Hibernian.
A word of warning however. Livingston have won this trophy before. They beat Hibernian 2-0 in the 2004 final and we normally make hard work in taking anything away from the Almondvale Macaroni Park in the pasta.
Our own form is nothing to write home about with only one win so far from eight games. We have something in common with Livi, we are struggling to score goals as well, with only seven from our eight games. We are unbeaten in our last three as our injury list eases slightly.
Richie Foran has been on the bench for the last couple of games but he needs game time to get up to speed. Iain Vigurs is out having injured himself against Clach and Tobi Sho-Silva was a late withdrawal at Tannadice. Warren, Doran and Brill are all out but Andrea Mutombo could be considered having served his two game ban.
Burchill will be without the suspended Daniel Mullen.
tm4tj prediction:- I predict us struggling to get into the next round. We don't do anything the easy way and if our performances this season are anything to go by then we could be in for extra-time to settle this one. We have looked more solid at the back with Meekings returning to the heart of the defence and new runner Miles Storey has pace to burn. He was quieter against United at the weekend but he was the lone player for long spells and will benefit from some company. Maybe this game will allow us to open up a bit and Ryan Christie could be a key figure. I'll go for a win to get us into the next round, ugly or otherwise, but as it's a cup game, that doesn't matter much.