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Aug 1, 2020 at 3pm UK at The Simple Digital Arena
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Preview: St Mirren vs. Livingston - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Scottish Premiership clash between St Mirren and Livingston, including team news and predicted lineups.

St Mirren kick off their 2020-21 Scottish Premiership campaign on Saturday when they welcome Livingston to the Simple Digital Arena in the opening round of matches.

Ten points separated the two clubs at the end of the curtailed 2019-20 season, with Livingston finishing fifth, while St Mirren placed ninth having both played 30 games.

Match preview

General view of St Mirren Park from 2009© Reuters

Having managed to successfully stave off relegation from the top flight again last season, survival will ultimately be the goal for St Mirren this time around as well.

The start of the 2020-21 campaign was thrust into the realms of uncertainty after seven St Mirren staff initially tested positive for coronavirus, but six of those turned out to be false positives and the Buddies are now raring to go for the visit of Livingston.

Jim Goodwin's men are gearing up for their third consecutive season in the Scottish Premiership, and St Mirren finished last season six points clear of relegated Hearts after the final standings were determined on a points-per-game basis.

St Mirren overcame Hearts by a goal to nil in their most recent league fixture before the season was abruptly ended, and Goodwin's side are yet to taste defeat on familiar territory in 2020 following three draws and one win from their last four at home.

The Buddies have taken part in two friendly matches as they prepare for the start of the new campaign, with a 1-1 draw at Hibernian followed up by a 2-1 loss to Hamilton earlier in July.

Meanwhile, Livingston defied expectations to finish in the top five last season and drastically improve on their ninth-placed standing from the 2018-19 campaign.

Gary Holt's side only made their return to the big time two years ago after achieving promotion alongside St Mirren from the 2017-18 Championship, but Livingston were only six points off a Europa League spot upon the curtailment of the previous campaign.

Despite failing to register a win in their final four games of last season, the Lions went unbeaten in pre-season as they played out draws with Dundee United and Ross County either side of a victory at Kilmarnock.

Livingston enjoyed a pair of 2-1 victories over St Mirren last season, with those two wins coming either side of a 3-3 draw in the 2019-20 campaign.

Team News

Goodwin has confirmed that Kyle Magennis and Ryan Flynn are making good progress in their recoveries from cruciate ligament injuries, but the pair are not expected to be back on the pitch until September at the earliest.

However, St Mirren have been forced to say goodbye to goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky, who became a fan favourite during his time in Paisley, meaning that Jak Alnwick will be handed his debut in between the sticks.

Goodwin has also added two new right-backs to the ranks with the signings of Marcus Fraser and Richard Tait, and the pair will battle it out for a spot in the starting lineup for the opening weekend.

As for Livingston, the only concern for Holt is the hip injury keeping former captain Alan Lithgow in the medical room, with Marvin Bartley now donning the armband for Livi.

Australian forward Lyndon Dykes notched up nine goals and eight assists in the league for Holt's men last term, and the 24-year-old is expected to lead the line despite speculation linking him with a move to Rangers.

St Mirren possible starting lineup:
Alnwick; Fraser, Shaughnessey, McCarthy, Baird; McAllister, MacPherson, Foley, Durmus; Obika, Morias

Livingston possible starting lineup:
McCrorie; Fitzwater, Ambrose, Guthrie; Devlin, Pittman, Bartley, Crawford, McMillan; Poplatnik, Dykes

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We say: St Mirren 1-2 Livingston

Both teams possess strikers capable of scoring plenty of goals for their respective clubs this season, and St Mirren were full value for their survival in the 2019-20 campaign, but we are backing Livingston to carry their momentum forward from pre-season and take all three points on Saturday afternoon.

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General view of St Mirren Park from 2009
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