Iain Russell: Livingston still fighting despite knockout blow

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It has been a difficult week leading up to this Saturday’s match against Barry Smith’s Dundee side.

Defeat in the Scottish Cup at home to knockout specialists Ayr United last weekend was a bitter pill to swallow. We were confident and looking for an extended cup run. On the day, we were the better team but Ayr had two shots on goal and that was enough to see them through.

It was a crushing blow to all the players and management.

Personally, though, it was great to get my first start since October and I am finally feeling like myself again and back to full fitness. It has been a long road and being out for three months did take its toll. However, it’s almost like a fresh start for me and I am really excited about the second half of the season.

We are so close from turning our league campaign from a good one into a great one. Yes, we have thrown away silly points and, in particular, when playing against sides when they have been reduced to ten men and nine men. But the two games where I feel we could have put ourselves in a much better position were the two home matches against Ross County and then more recently Falkirk.

We lost to Ross County at home 3-0, but only after we went down to ten men did Ross County score and then dominate the match. Then, on January 2, Falkirk beat us 2-1 in a game where the luck went with them instead of us.

If we had won these games we would be closer to the top. It’s these crunch matches we have to win and it looks as if we will need to win the majority of our games now to have any say in the title race.

This Saturday’s match gives the squad the perfect opportunity to prove our title credentials against an in-from Dundee side. It is arguably the hardest away trip of the season.

After last week’s disappointment, it’s a great game for all the boys. There will be a big crowd and both teams like to play attacking football. If we can produce a positive result then it will give us all a lift and belief going into the latter part of the league campaign.

This week has also seen the transfer window open and it is always a strange time in the season. Due to the time constraints managers operate in, squads can change quite quickly. Friends and old faces leave and new faces are brought in.

Long servant and commanding centre half Cammy McDonald leaves us this week. Big Cammy has been at Livingston for seven years and was a lovely lad around the dressing-room but was frustrated at not getting much game time and will leave in search of this. Good luck, buddy.