PREVIEW | Livingston v Saints

Saints head to Livingston tomorrow afternoon in the Ladbrokes Premiership ten days after our last fixture which saw the team lose out in controversial circumstances to Hibs at McDiarmid Park.

The Tony Macaroni Arena is the venue for tomorrow's match and it's a big game when it comes the club's top six aspirations for this season. There are just five matches remaining until the split with Saints trailing 6th place Hibs by three points going into the weekend.

Looking ahead to the match in West Lothian tomorrow, the manager believes his side need to learn from recent defeats and build momentum heading into the final games before the split.

"We've got five games to go," Tommy said, "and it's five really important games for us because we want to get as many points on the board as possible.

"I think we can take a lot of positives from the game against Hibs in terms of our performance and build on it but we've got to learn from it as well.

"Whether it was a penalty or not we've got to be better in that situation and for Hibs' second goal we've made it too easy for them to score.

"In these remaining games we've got to make ourselves more chances and be more creative in that final third. We need to get more opportunities so we can get more than one goal to kill off a game.

"There's room for improvement for sure but we've got to remember as well that we're currently on 38 points - that's what we had after 33 games last year.

"The run we're on at the moment isn't nice but we're in a good position and we've done well over the season. Now we need to get back to winning ways and build some momentum for the final games before the split."

The two sides have faced eachother twice already this season with Saints coming out on top 1-0 on both occasions.

And the manager is expecting another tough match this time around against one of the league's surprise packages this season.

"They've come into the league and been a breath of fresh air," he said.

"I'm expecting much the same as the previous two encounters. They're very hard-working, organised and difficult to beat at home. I think we were the first side to beat them there when we went to Livingston and won.

"They'll make it hard for us and it's a big game for them too. It's a mini league we're in with ourselves, Hibs, Motherwell and Livingston all trying to get into that last top six spot.

"We'll need a similar performance tomorrow and we'll need to be good on the ball and show that little bit of quality up top. I'm confident we can get a result and with the run-in we've got I think it's going to be in our hands to make the top-half come the split."

Team news for tomorrow is positive with Brian Easton - who came through his first 90 minutes on Monday in his recovery from long-term injury - available for squad selection once again. Michael O'Halloran is also fully fit and available to play.

However, the manager's goalkeeping options have been narrowed down with the news that Mark Hurst has left the club and gone to America. 23-year-old Hurst has been on the substitutes bench in recent weeks as back up to Cammy Bell but has left Tommy perplexed and angered with his sudden and unexpected announcement. There are also concerns about loan signing Niall Keown who has a slight hamstring problem.

“At the end of last week Mark simply came into my office and announced he was taking himself off to the States," the manager said.

"To say that I was taken aback would be an understatement. It’s far from ideal at a time when we have Zander Clark injured too.

"Young Ross Sinclair will be on the bench tomorrow to replace Mark. Niall Keown is a doubt as well for us due to a slight hamstring problem.

"It's great news to have Brian Easton back available for selection and he’ll make the squad of 20 for first-time since returning from injury tomorrow.

"Whether he makes the 18 we’ll have to wait and see but the whole place has been buzzing to see him back involved.

"It was great to see him in there getting his first full 90 minutes from the Reserves on Monday and he's getting closer and closer every week."


Kick-off tomorrow is at 3PM and the match will be available on Saints TV AUDIO COMMENTARY ONLY tomorrow with the full match replay and highlights available from midnight.