Tony Macaroni challenge
We head down to Livingston on Saturday to face the upstarts of the season so far. David Hopkin has taken his promoted side to second in the Championship after eleven games. They have already beaten Inverness in the Highlands, but might find us a tougher nut to crack this time round as we look to make it six clean sheets in a row.
Last time out we defeated Dunfermline at the Caledonian Stadium thanks to a goal from Connor Bell. That was on the back of an excellent away win at Tannadice the week before. It's six games since we conceded a goal, approaching 500 minutes of football. That's not bad for a side that began the season by gifting comedy goals every week. We have certainly tightened up at the back and credit has to go to Coll Donaldson who has come in and taken his chance to establish himself as the number one centre back. With the two returning full backs, David Raven and Carl Tremarco, and Brad Mckay alongside him, we are a different proposition and it's no coincidence that results have improved of late. Let's not forget the part keeper Mark Ridgers has played in this. Coming back in for the injured Fon Williams, Mark has kept three clean sheets in a row and I'm certain that having a more solid and settled back line makes his life easier. Confidence breeds more confidence.
Livi went second thanks to a 3-2 win over Brechin City. Jack McMillan, Craig Halkett and Dylan Mackin did the damage. Halkett was also a scorer when Livi visited the Highlands in September and came away with a 1-3 win. They have scored twenty goals, seven more than us but their defence is only one goal better off, despite our poor start to the campaign. The Lions have won their last three home games, beating Brechin, Dundee United and Dumbarton. One lowlight was the 3-1 defeat at East End Park.
Zak Elbouzedi played for an hour on Sunday in the 2-0 youth cup win over University of Stirling. Good to see Zak getting some match time after his injury troubles since coming North. Aaron Doran is building towards a return but some more fitness levels needed. Owain Fon Williams, Collin Seedorf and Felitciano Zschusschen remain out. Alex Cooper missed out last week. John Baird is a doubt.
David Hopkin's last game was against Brechin and this was his preferred line-up: Alexander, Gallagher, Halkett, Lithgow, Mullen, Pittman, Byrne, Penrice, McMillan (Mackin 45), Todorov (Jacobs 64), De Vita (Knox 73). Mullen and Mackin scored for the U20's in midweek and will be looking for a start here.
tm4tj prediction:- All these clean sheets are breeding confidence and it's starting to spread through the stands. The performance at Tannadice was commanding, the win over Dunfermline was harder work but thoroughly deserved and with Iain Vigurs pulling the strings in midfield we are able to create more for our eager front pairing of Connor Bell and John Baird. Jake Mulraney has two assists in the last two games, both put away by Bell, so a promising partnership is being nurtured by Robbo. Livi showed in the game at Inverness that they are well set up for the rigours of the Championsip. They work hard for each other and defend in depth when required. Not too easy to break down this will be a test for Mulraney and Bell. Given our recent upturn in fortune, a draw would be a decent result, a win would be a bonus, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. No score draw or narrow win either way is where the smart money will be. Confused.com.
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