A Blast from the past.
It could be billed as an explosive cup tie as auld mates Livingston provide the opposition on Saturday as we meet in the 5th round of the Scottish Cup. BOOM BOOM! (Apparently the road opened with a bang after the device was detonated)
Here's something to ponder over. On the day of this tie, 20 years ago to the day, Inverness Caledonian Thistle emerged from the ashes and this phrase was begat.
Just let that sink in for a minute or two.
This will be Livi's second trip to the Highlands in four days having played Ross County in a midweek premiership game. We made it thus far by beating Alloa Athletic 2-3 and Livi produced a late comeback to dispose of Raith Rovers 3-1 after Rovers led until the last 13 minutes.
So, it's a wee while since we last hung out with Livi, having followed them through the leagues. We have had some memorable games against the Lions, and some instantly forgettable ones. Our last game against them was a 1-0 win for the Caley Jags in a Championship encounter in April 2018 when Liam Polworth (remember him), scored the only goal of the game in front of 740 fans at the Toni Macaroni. Ahhhh, those were the days...... Livingston went on to gain promotion via the play-offs that season by removing Partick Thistle from the premiership, winning home and away, while we just failed to make the top four after making a late run in the league, but falling at the third last hurdle when Dunfermline snatched a 95th minute equalising goal to deny us.
Overall results against Livi are pretty even, the Caley Jags just shading it by a couple of wins and five goals. However, since we went down, Livi have been able to deal with life in the Premiership whilst we are struggling against the Arbroath's, Alloa's and Ayr's of this world. Livi sit comfortably in fifth place in the premiership and well clear of the dreaded drop, a top six place looks to be on the cards.
It appears that Livi don't play quite as well when they are on the grass, their form away from the comfort of their own synthetic surface shows them to be vulnerable, something the village team at Dingwall exploited in midweek as a brace from Billy Mckay saw County take the points on Wednesday night. However, a word of warning, they are a strapping side and will pose problems to whoever our defence are. Dolly Menga, a substitute in midweek is a bag of tricks and will need to be shackled.
Of the current squads there are a few players who have been on the books of both clubs. Our gaffer John Robertson was a player manager and present coach Barry Wilson played in Europe for them. Strikers Jordan White and Nikolay Todorov also donned both shirts.
As well as departed players, the Caley Jags have injury concerns over the rest of the defence with Shaun Rooney, Kevin McHattie and Mark Ridgers all nursing knocks after the Alloa game last week. Lewis Toshney is cup-tied (is he even a real thing), although Cameron Harper has been recalled from Elgin City.
According to the latest news, we have a clean bill of health after all the knocks last week, minus Toshney who is cup-tied.
Livingston went with an unchanged starting XI against Ross County in midweek, but added Dolly Menga to the bench in place of Alan Lithgow.
XI: McCrorie; McMillan, Taylor-Sinclair, Brown, Guthrie, Bartley, Pittman, Sibbald, Lawless, Robinson, Dykes.
Subs: Maley, Lamie, Lawson, Jacobs, Crawford, Souda, Menga.