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

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

St Johnstone and Livingston will lock horns in the Scottish Premiership at McDiarmid Park for the final time this season, with both teams looking to secure all three points and finish in fifth place.

The two sides head into Saturday's game after suffering heavy defeats to the Old Firm, with the Saints losing 4-0 away at Celtic, while the Lions were beaten 3-0 at home to champions Rangers.


Match preview

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson celebrates after the match on May 9, 2021© Reuters

St Johnstone were unable to build on their Scottish Cup semi-final victory against St Mirren last weekend, as they were convincingly beaten at Celtic Park on Wednesday evening.

First-half goals from David Turnbull and Odsonne Edouard were followed by second-half strikes from Kristoffer Ajer and Karamoko Dembele, to seal all three points for the Hoops, with the Saints losing just their fourth league game in 2021.

Manager Callum Davidson has admitted that he is concerned regarding his preparations for the Scottish Cup final later this month, after losing more first-team players due to a coronavirus outbreak at the club.

The Saints were without four self-isolating players before Sunday's semi-final win at Hampden Park, and Davidson only had a 16-man squad for the match at Celtic Park with Zander Clark, Liam Gordon, Michael O'Halloran and Ali McCann four more first-team players who dropped out.

St Johnstone will most definitely have one eye on that showpiece event, but they must now turn their focus back to the Scottish Premiership, where they have a chance to consolidate fifth spot, their highest top-flight finish since the 2016-17 season.

The Saints are currently level on points with sixth-placed Livingston, who the have beaten in three of their four meetings this campaign.

Livingston manager David Martindale pictured in February 2021© Reuters

Livingston, however, have won the only encounter to be played at McDiarmid Park this season, claiming a 2-1 win in December.

That victory was part of a 14-game unbeaten run that the Lions had between November 28 and February 2, which coincided with the appointment of David Martindale.

However, since that run ended – when St Johnstone won 2-1 at the Toni Macaroni Stadium on February 6 – Livingston have won just two of their last 13 matches in all competitions and have lost their last four league games in succession, most recently suffering defeat to Rangers on Wednesday evening.

A James Tavernier penalty on the stroke of half time was followed by second-half strikes from Ryan Kent and Ianis Hagi, securing all three points for the visitors, who are looking to finish the campaign undefeated.

Livingston just need one point to surpass their 2018-19 points tally of 44, their highest total since their promotion to the top-flight two seasons ago.

St Johnstone Scottish Premiership form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L

St Johnstone form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L

Livingston Scottish Premiership form:
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Livingston form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L


Team News

St Johnstone's Shaun Rooney celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates in February 2021© Reuters

St Johnstone will be without Clark, Gordon, O'Halloran and McCann, as well as Murray Davidson, Stevie May, Scott Tanser and Elliot Parish, who have all been forced to self-isolate.

Davidson is set to have just 16 players to choose from once again and so is unlikely to make too many changes to the starting lineup that lost to Celtic.

David Wotherspoon and Guy Melamed both came on from the bench in midweek but could be handed starts at the expense of Charlie Gilmour and Craig Conway.

Shaun Rooney, who scored the winning goal in the 1-0 League Cup semi-final victory over Livingston in February, is set to start again as one of three central defenders, with James Brown to play at right wing-back.

As for Livingston, Martindale is likely to make changes to his starting lineup after losing the last four league games in succession.

Defender Alan Lithgow could be handed a start ahead of Jack Fitzwater, while Alan Forrest and Marvin Bartley may be recalled at the expense of Josh Mullin and Scott Pittman.

Midfielder Djibril Diani, who is on loan from Swiss side Grasshoppers, could be in line to make his final appearance for the club if the Lions decide against making his deal permanent this summer.

Goalkeeper Robby McCrorie, who is on loan from Rangers, looks to have played his final game for the Lions as he is suffering with a knock that has kept him out of the last two matches.

Gavin Reilly is back running after a hamstring problem but his season is over, while Keaghan Jacobs and Steve Lawson remain out with foot injuries.

St Johnstone possible starting lineup:
Zlamal; Rooney, Kerr, McCart; Brown, Wotherspoon, Bryson, Booth; Middleton, Melamed; Kane

Livingston possible starting lineup:
Stryjek; Devlin, Lithgow, Guthrie, Longridge; Bartley, Holt; Sibbald, Diani, Forrest; Emmanuel-Thomas


SM words green background

We say: St Johnstone 1-1 Livingston

Livingston have been struggling for several weeks now and have particularly looked vulnerable in defence, conceding in each of their last 14 matches in all competitions.

However, they face a coronavirus-hit St Johnstone side, who will be prioritising their preparations for the Scottish Cup final.

With little to separate the two teams, a score draw could be on the cards at McDiarmid Park.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals 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.Over 1.5:data


ID:447303:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:collect14140:

How you voted: St Johnstone vs Livingston

St Johnstone
80.0%
Draw
20.0%
Livingston
0.0%
5
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Celtic's Scott Bain pictured in June 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1 33285078106889
2 33209466244269
3 33168944311356
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