Livi face new boys Alloa in opener

Livingston manager, Richie Burke. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Livingston manager, Richie Burke. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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LIVINGSTON get their first-ever SPFL Championship campaign under way tomorrow with a trip to face the second tier new boys Alloa Athletic.

Richie Burke’s side has gone through much change during the pre-season, with first-team players such as Liam Fox, Iain Russell, Craig Barr, Tony Andreu, Andy McNeil, Paul Watson and Kyle Jacobs all having left.

In have come the likes of Simon Mensing from Raith Rovers, midfielders Martin Scott and Kyle Wilkie as well as Forfar winger Danny Denholm.

The Lions have been without Stefan Scougall and Burton O’Brien for much of their summer schedule – they have been injured along with other new arrivals Mike Mampuya and Curtis Jones, as well as Keaghan Jacobs.

After a 3-2 Ramsdens Cup loss in extra time to Berwick Rangers – where a 1-1 draw was only secured in stoppage time – the West Lothian side were much improved last weekend, winning 3-1 in the League Cup at Elgin City.

They’ll face an Alloa side who last took on the Lions in May 2011. The 3-1 win at Recreation Park for Livi was their final game before promotion to the First Division and sent the Wasps into a relegation play-off that landed them in the Third. That result ultimately heralded the arrival of former Hearts player Paul Hartley as manager at the Clackmannanshire club, and two subsequent promotions.

The Lions will be hoping to get off to a positive start, with Burke and assistant Mark Burchill saying the young players will play a big part in the season ahead. Under-19s Coll Donaldson, Connor McDonald and Jack Beaumont have featured heavily in pre-season, with teenagers Danny Mullen and Kyle Lander building on appearances last term.