Callum Fordyce is calling on all Livingston supporters to make the trip to the Energy Assets Arena tomorrow as the Lions prepare to host league leaders Hearts.
The 22-year-old defender knows his opponents will be spurred on from three sides of the stadium on Saturday as Robbie Neilson’s men look to make it 18 games unbeaten in this season’s Championship.
However, despite an estimated 6000 Jambos descending upon West Lothian for this top-versus-bottom clash, the former Hibs youth player is urging those draped in yellow and black to make themselves heard.
“It’s a great stadium and when you’ve got the fans coming along it makes for a real good atmosphere,” Fordyce said. “We’ve experienced it already this season with both Rangers and Hearts [in the Petrofac Training Cup] coming here and it does give the players that wee adrenalin rush and pushes you that bit harder so I’m really looking forward to it.
“Obviously, Hearts are on a great run at the moment and are unbeaten, but coming to Livingston will be a hard game. We’ve got a good chance as any and anything can happen. Football is a crazy game. We certainly feel we are more than capable of getting the points against them.”
Last weekend’s defeat by a crisis-hit Rangers side was difficult to take for those in the Livi dressing-room, given the number of chances the visitors passed up in front of goal at Ibrox in new boss Mark Burchill’s first game in charge.
“It was pretty gutting to lose at Ibrox, to be honest,” Fordyce admitted. “I thought we created a good few number of chances so it was really disappointing as usually you come to Glasgow and you’re restricted to very few chances. You feel a wee bit nervous in the warm-up when you go to places like Ibrox but once the game kicks off and you get your first touch on the ball, the match really just takes care of itself.
“I thought the team played well. We stuck to our game plan and we caused Rangers a lot of problems. Even when we went 2-0 down, we still had chances so it was disappointing to come away without taking anything as we were always in the game.”
Burchill has been tasked with retaining the Championship status of a side currently five points adrfit at the foot of the table. However, Fordyce, who has been an ever-present in the Livi rearguard this season, believes the former Celtic and Hearts striker is equipped for the job.
“It’s a great opportunity for the gaffer now and he’s a local boy,” said Fordyce.
“Being a local boy myself, it’s a great opportunity to play or manage your hometown club. It gives you that incentive to give even more and go and make a name for yourself. I’m sure he’ll do well.”
On the departure of former mentor John McGlynn, who left ten days ago, Fordyce said: “It was a strange start to last week, but that’s football so you’ve just got to get on with it. Training has been good this week, everybody is looking sharp so we’re still focused on getting up the table. There’s a real togetherness and belief that things will start to turn.
“No matter of the other clubs’ results, we are just concentrating on ourselves. Even when the points were deducted, we’ve always believed we are good enough to get ourselves out of trouble.”
That five-point deduction handed out to Livingston over the non-payment of tax has made the club’s task even harder but it’s one Fordyce maintains is not out of reach. It has been a torrid five months for a club plagued by off-field turmoil but Fordyce says he and his team-mates cannot become distracted by issues that are, ultimately, outwith their control.
“It has been a crazy five months,” he said. “But we’ve just got to focus on the football as everything behind the scenes has nothing to do with us. Our job is to get the points on the board for the club and start climbing the table.
“It has been hard recently as we started this season really well. It’s not nice being at the bottom of the table but the new year is a new start; we’ve got a big five months or so ahead of us.”