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Preview: Livingston vs. St Johnstone - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Scottish League Cup clash between Livingston and St Johnstone, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two of Scotland's less fashionable clubs will contest the first showpiece final of the Scottish season when Livingston face St Johnstone in the League Cup final at Hampden Park on Sunday.

These two teams met earlier this month in the Scottish Premiership and Livi will be seeking revenge for a 2-1 home defeat as well as some silverware.


Match preview

Rangers defender Filip Helander gets a shot away in the Scottish Premiership clash with Livingston on August 16, 2020© Reuters

Livingston have enjoyed something of a fairytale campaign since David Martindale took over as manager from Gary Holt in November.

They have climbed to fifth place in the league table thanks to a remarkable 14-match unbeaten run that only ended when they lost to St Johnstone on February 6.

A week later they were beaten 3-0 at Dundee United in the league, but recovered somewhat to take a point from a 1-1 draw at St Mirren last weekend.

Martindale's personal story is also something of a fairytale, with the Lions boss having endured some dark times in his life.

He served four years in prison back in 2006 for organised crime-related offences and was also never a professional football player.

If Livi can win the cup on Sunday then his road to redemption will have been completed in a remarkable and inspiring way.

The Lions last won the League Cup in 2004, but just four years later they were down in the fourth tier of Scottish football.

Their rise since then mirrors that of Martindale in many ways, and many neutrals will be wishing them well this weekend.

St Johnstone will not care about any of the romance of Martindale and Livi's story, of course. The Perth Saints are the only team to have beaten Livi since Martindale took over in West Lothian and they will surely take some confidence from that.

Manager Callum Davidson has also asserted this week that his players should take confidence from the manner of their semi-final win over Hibernian.

The Saints beat Hibs 3-0 to reach the League Cup final, in a game in which Davidson felt his team did not start well but then improved hugely as the game went on.

Davidson believes that that performance should tell the players that they belong in a final and should feel confident at Hampden.

They have certainly enjoyed some solid enough form in recent weeks to suggest that they can win on Sunday.

Since reaching the final, Davidson's team have lost just two of their six games, and they were against Rangers and Celtic.

While much of the sentimental focus on this game has been on Martindale, the Perth outfit have all the assets needed to create a legend of their own this weekend.

Livingston Scottish League Cup form: WWWWWW
Livingston form (all competitions): WDWLLD

St Johnstone Scottish League Cup form:WDWWWW
St Johnstone form (all competitions): DWLWLW


Team News

Livingston's Marvin Bartley in action with Rangers forward Alfredo Morelos in August 2020© Reuters

Livingston boss Martindale may not be able to call on forward Scott Robinson, who is a doubt with a back injury after limping out of the game against Dundee United a fortnight ago.

Martindale has expressed optimism that Robinson will be fit enough to feature and there are no other injury concerns for the Livi boss apart from long-term absentees Keaghan Jacobs and Alan Lithgow.

Skipper Marvin Bartley was rested last week along with number one goalkeeper Max Stryjek so both should be raring to go on Sunday.

For St Johnstone, midfielder Murray Davidson has only a 50-50 chance of playing on Sunday, according to his manager.

The 32-year-old has suffered a setback in his recovery from a calf problem and is very unlikely to start at Hampden, though he could well feature in the squad.

David Wotherspoon will be fit to play, though, after recovering from a groin injury. St Johnstone have no other injury concerns ahead of Sunday's final.

Livingston possible starting lineup:
Stryjek; Devlin, Fitzwater, Guthrie, Serrano; Pittman, Bartley, Holt; Mullin, Sibbald, Reilly

St Johnstone possible starting lineup:
Clark; Kerr, Gordon, McCart; Rooney, McCann, Craig, Booth; Melamed; Wotherspoon; Kane


SM words green background

We say: Livingston 1-2 St Johnstone

Livi's fairytale will end on Sunday when they suffer a narrow defeat to Callum Davidson's Perth Saints.

Extra time will probably be needed and a tight game's outcome could be determined by an error.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data


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Murray Davidson in action for St Johnstone in September 2015
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CRangersRangers33285078106889
2Celtic33209466244269
3Hibernian33168944311356
4Aberdeen331310103231149
5Livingston33128134041-144
6St Johnstone331010133440-640
7St Mirren331010133038-840
8Dundee UnitedDundee Utd33912122943-1439
9Motherwell3398163251-1935
10Ross County3385202659-3329
11Kilmarnock3384213347-1428
12Hamilton AcademicalHamilton3369183160-2927

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