{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"livingston","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":17,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/15-statistical-leaders-from-the-2018-19-scottish-premiership-thus-far-1-4812951","id":"1.4812951","articleHeadline": "15 statistical leaders from the 2018/19 Scottish Premiership thus far","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539177269000 ,"articleLead": "

With the international break here to annoy us until the real stuff starts up again, it’s time use this unwelcome break to take stock. Using Wyscout.com, Craig Fowler has pored over the advanced statistical categories and collated the most notable leaders in order to paint a picture of the season so far.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4812950.1539178087!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts striker Uche Ikpeazu, left, has enjoyed some physical battles with opposing defenders. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

READ MORE - Aidan Smith: Hearts and Celtic could be a much-needed cup classic

No player has been fouled as much (21) or committed as many fouls (31) this season as Uche Ikpeazu, which says a lot for the Hearts striker’s incredible strength. It’s difficult to stop him without resorting to nefarious means, while a shoulder barge from the big man is capable of sending any opponent in the league flying into the stand.

Livingston goalkeeper Liam Kelly has sent the ball flying into the air more than any other, attempting 142 long passes through eight games, which shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise considering Livingston’s direct (though undeniably successful) tactics. His team-mate Declan Gallagher is also in the top five for that particular stat and has attempted the most of any outfield player (90).

Sticking with goalkeepers, Zander Clark leads the league in goals conceded (18), shots faced (64) and saves made (46). The latter two are by a comfortable distance, which doesn’t say a lot for St Johnstone’s defence so far this season, though at least Joe Shaughnessy has the best percentage of aerial duel success, winning 74.14 of his battles thus far.

At the other end, Motherwell attackers Curtis Main (99) and Conor Sammon (21.83) have fought for the most headers overall and per 90 minutes, respectively. This says a lot about Stephen Robinson’s weekly gameplan, though probably not too much that you didn’t know already.

It’s also no surprise to see that Aberdeen skipper Graeme Shinnie is officially the most combative player in the league, getting involved in 91 defensive duels. Though his 18.68 success rate is well behind that of leader Craig Halkett (41.67).

The Livingston stopper has faced two of the 39 crosses attempted by Rangers full-back Borna Barisic. The Croatian’s presence atop the pack is quite surprising, considering he’s played 326 fewer minutes than Gary Mackay-Steven, the man in second.

The Aberdeen winger can at least console himself with being the most daring dribbler in the league as he’s taken on opponents on 80 separate occasions. However, it is Hibs’ Daryl Horgan who has had most success with completing 81.63 per cent of his dribbles.

Kilmarnock striker Eammon Brophy can claim to be the most active forward thus far, attempting the highest number of shots (26) and being caught offside the most (12). He can not, however, claim to be the most accurate striker (though he is in the top five) as both Steven Naismith of Hearts and Celtic’s Leigh Griffiths share that honour with 61.11 per cent of their efforts on target thus far.

Speaking of the reigning champions, they have the top three players for passes attempted. Although, somewhat surprisingly, last year’s leader Scott Brown (461) is in third behind Dedryck Boyata (573) and Mikael Lustig (527), indicating that teams are looking to reduce Brown’s influence after his Player of the Year campaign.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4812950.1539178087!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4812950.1539178087!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts striker Uche Ikpeazu, left, has enjoyed some physical battles with opposing defenders. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts striker Uche Ikpeazu, left, has enjoyed some physical battles with opposing defenders. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4812950.1539178087!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/scottish-football-live-rangers-eye-former-defender-dispute-over-kyle-lafferty-exit-italian-legend-hails-ibrox-stadium-1-4812687","id":"1.4812687","articleHeadline": "Scottish Football Live: Rangers eye former defender, dispute over Kyle Lafferty exit, Italian legend hails Ibrox stadium","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1539158159000 ,"articleLead": "

Follow The Scotsman’s daily blog as we keep you updated with all the latest news, views, rumours and much more from around Scottish football.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4812685.1539158154!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Halkett, right, is said to be a target for Rangers. Picture: Michael Gillen"} ,"articleBody": "

Refresh for updates.

• READ MORE: Rumour Mill: Griffiths denies liking abusive tweet | World Cup winner: ‘Ibrox one of the best’ | Rangers star snubs national team

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4812685.1539158154!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4812685.1539158154!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Craig Halkett, right, is said to be a target for Rangers. Picture: Michael Gillen","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Halkett, right, is said to be a target for Rangers. Picture: Michael Gillen","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4812685.1539158154!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5788601467001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/our-region/edinburgh/man-charged-after-assistant-struck-by-object-at-livingston-v-rangers-clash-1-4809965","id":"1.4809965","articleHeadline": "Man charged after assistant struck by object at Livingston v Rangers clash","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1538663241000 ,"articleLead": "

A man has been charged after an assistant referee was struck with a coin during a football match.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4809964.1538663237!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The back of assistant referee Calum Spences head after receiving treatment for a head injury. Picture; Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

The incident happened during the game between Livingston and Rangers at the Tony Macaroni Arena on Sunday 30th September.

The 30-year-old is scheduled to appear at Livingston Sheriff Court on Friday October 5.

Superintendent Craig Smith, Event Commander for the match, said: “As a result of this incident we received an overwhelming number of calls from the public, who shared our position that such behaviour was totally unacceptable.

“I’d like to thank both sets of supporters, the respective clubs and the general public for their assistance during this investigation.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4809964.1538663237!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4809964.1538663237!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The back of assistant referee Calum Spences head after receiving treatment for a head injury. Picture; Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The back of assistant referee Calum Spences head after receiving treatment for a head injury. Picture; Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4809964.1538663237!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hayley-mcqueen-defends-herself-as-fans-attack-sky-sports-coverage-1-4807796","id":"1.4807796","articleHeadline": "Hayley McQueen defends herself as fans attack Sky Sports coverage","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1538407197000 ,"articleLead": "

Sky Sports presenter Hayley McQueen has defended herself on social media after being criticised over Sky Sports’ coverage of Livingston’s match with Rangers on Sunday.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4807794.1538407193!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sky Sports presenter Hayley McQueen alongside former Celtic star Kris Commons. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

READ MORE - Five things we learned from the Scottish Premiership weekend

After Livingston’s 1-0 win, the three-person panel, also featuring Kris Boyd and Kris Commons, discussed Celtic’s unsettled start to the 2018/19 season.

This anger some supporters, who felt it unnecessary to focus on Brendan Rodgers’ side when their greatest rivals had just suffered defeat and remained behind Celtic in the league table.

One fan tweeted: “Rangers* lose and hurting @HayleyMcQueen immediately launches into “Celtic in crisis” pre-planned deflection mode. Can’t hide it.”

Instead of ignoring it, though, the presenter decided to fire back.

She wrote: “Why you think I’m a Rangers fan, god knows, it’s obviously what you want to believe. A decision to discuss Celtic today was an editorial decision not mine personally. End of.”

She later added: “I’m actually not defending it but when you tweet me with something that is wrong I will correct it. As explained already I do not control our editorial output.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4807794.1538407193!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4807794.1538407193!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sky Sports presenter Hayley McQueen alongside former Celtic star Kris Commons. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sky Sports presenter Hayley McQueen alongside former Celtic star Kris Commons. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4807794.1538407193!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5830548442001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/why-livingston-are-a-welcome-addition-to-the-scottish-premiership-party-1-4807924","id":"1.4807924","articleHeadline": "Why Livingston are a welcome addition to the Scottish Premiership party","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1538402292000 ,"articleLead": "

Livingston deservedly defeated Rangers as they moved into third place in the Ladbrokes Premiership. Joel Sked looks at why the West Lothian side have been a welcome addition to the league.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4807918.1538402840!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Livingston's Dolly Menga celebrates his goal against Rangers. Picture: SNS/Craig Williamson"} ,"articleBody": "

• READ MORE: Livingston 1 - 0 Rangers: Menga goal downs Gerrard’s men

Craig Thomson had just signalled the end of Livingston’s momentous 1-0 win over Rangers to lift them into third place when defender Declan Gallagher gestured to numerous Rangers players, effectively telling them to get ‘away up the road’.

It was combative and antagonistic, feeding into the stereotype which has built around the team since last season when it first looked plausible they could secure back-to-back promotions and reach the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Meanwhile, manager Gary Holt summed up the team’s mentality after the victory.

“We know we’re relegation favourites,” he said. “We want to maybe stick two fingers up and say we’re good enough to stay up.”

It paints a picture of Livingston as an unwelcome guest at a house party: an unruly and loud presence, playing beer-pong with an expensive bottle of champagne that was being saved for a special occasion and feeding Sambuca and kettle chips to the dog, all the while the rest of the party are discussing the merits of pairing white wine with seafood or Labour’s radical tax reforms.

Except the Ladbrokes Premiership party is more akin to The Hangover and Livingston are the tiger lurking in the bathroom. They add a wild-card factor to what is an already enjoyable, rowdy and impressive ‘celebration’ of football.

Seven games into the league season and Livi sit third. And deservedly so as they continue to impress. Their first seven fixtures have included five games against last season’s top six. They were defeated by Celtic but picked up draws against Kilmarnock and league leaders Hearts, while gaining wins over Hibs and Rangers.

Steven Gerrard’s men were the latest to falter against the West Lothian side. They didn’t just falter, they were soundly beaten. If it had finished Livingston 4 Rangers 0 it would have been a shocking result on so many levels. Yet, those who watched the game would not have been surprised in the slightest.

The latest result was yet another blow to the ego of all those - and there were many - who tipped and expected Livingston to be propping up the league table now and come the season end.

From a distance such a prediction was understandable. The man who had led the club to back-to-back promotions David Hopkin had left despite not having another managerial post lined up, while his replacement was Kenny Miller, appointed player/manager.

Something didn’t smell right. And that only intensified when Miller, bizarrely yet unsurprisingly, became the first manager to leave their post after only seven weeks in the job.

Such upheaval in a short space of time goes against any sort of rationale which would see a team exceed all expectations. Yet, here we are. Livingston are in a European spot, albeit with the league still at a nascent stage.

What many underestimated was the team. This is a tight-knit squad which has largely been together for three seasons. In the final home game of their League One winning campaign of 2016-2017, Liam Kelly, Declan Gallagher, Craig Halkett, Alan Lithgow, Rafa De Vita and Scott Pittman all started. Keeghan Jacobs and Nicky Cadden were on the bench, while Shaun Byrne was unavailable.

Not only are all nine still with the club, they are key individuals. While Cadden has been used regularly as a sub and De Vita is yet to feature, the other seven form the Livingston spine, an impenetrable wall. Only Hearts have conceded fewer goals, yet Livingston are the only team to have kept five league clean sheets.

The midfield trio in Jacobs, Pittman and Byrne complement one another so well. Jacobs sits at the base allowing the latter duo to engage opponents. Pittman is so effective and getting up in support of the attack and running beyond, as seen with his early chance against Rangers.

Byrne is reminiscent of N’Golo Kante. He goes hunting, snapping into challenges and making it very uncomfortable for opponents. But he is more than just energy, he reads the game well to break it up and is composed on the ball.

• READ MORE: Rangers boss Steven Gerrard: ‘This can’t keep happening’

• READ MORE: Rangers boss pays credit to Livingston

• READ MORE: Livingston v Rangers: Police investigating after assistant struck by object

The trio are supported by Scott Robinson, a real livewire on his return to the top-flight, and Dolly Menga, who has been an astute piece of business. They defend from the front with the latter buying into the club’s ethos. He provides selfless running and offers a more mobile and physical focal point than veteran Lee Miller who is currently out injured.

During Miller’s short period in charge he curiously opted for Steven Saunders instead of Alan Lithgow in a three-man backline. Once Miller had exited, Lithgow was immediately restored.

The defensive axis of Lithgow, Gallgher and Halkett is the team’s backbone. Their priority is as follows: defend at all costs. Captain Halkett has been one of the best, and most consistent, players in the league this season.

Each individual adds to and embraces the collective. Last season Hopkin praised the squad’s professionalism and desire to eke out every morsel of talent. They look like a team who have been coached to within an ounce of their lives. Watching them move about the pitch in tandem can be hypnotic.

It’s this which has allowed Holt to come in and hit the ground running. Almost as if this Livingston squad simply needs a custodian rather than manager.

Much has been made of David Martindale’s involvement at Livingston and how much influence he has. It does, at times, look as if he is the manager. He’s often a vocal presence on the edge of the technical area, greeting players first when they come off and after the win over Rangers he was on the pitch giving Steve Lawson coaching instructions. That being said, it works.

As does Livingston’s game plan. They are simply very, very good at the football they play. The team are no doubt capable of keeping the ball and playing a more possession-based style. But that isn’t what has taken them into the top flight and into the top three.

They are unapologetically direct - playing the highest number of long passes per 90 minutes in the league - and utilise the long throw to their advantage. When they sense an opportunity to put the ball into the box they take it, with the team recording the highest percentage of aerial duels won.

“We keep our shape and we defend well and try to get teams on the counter attack,” explained Pittman.

“We start every game with a point and the manager says ‘just try not to lose it’. We try to press the other team, get in people’s faces, don’t make it easy for them.”

It is no surprise they have played the fewest passes and recorded the lowest share of possession in the league. It is effective, efficient and enjoyable, certainly in the eyes of this writer.

They suffocate teams with their high energy approach and look to attack centrally. They have hit the fewest crosses per 90 minutes but only Hibs have played a higher number of through passes, while they have the second highest percentage of shots on target, behind Rangers.

Once again, their artificial pitch was brought up, just like a raft of black pellets off the surface, during the Sky Sports broadcast. Holt’s view is as refreshing as it is admirable and honest.

“We are quite happy if people hammer it,” he told BBC Scotland. “It’s a massive advantage for us. We train on it every day and we love it. It makes it quicker.”

Teams can moan all they want when they go to the Tony Macaroni Arena, they won’t be afforded an apology. They will simply have to adjust and compete. Fail to do so and Livi will run through, around and over them, satisfied with the three points as opponents bemoan the newcomers and their pitch on their way up the road.

Like Gallagher after the Rangers game, Livingston will continue to rub opposition teams, players and fans up the wrong way. It will matter little to the club as they show what’s capable with a well-executed gameplan while sticking two fingers up at the doubters along the way.

• READ MORE: Five things we learned from the Scottish Premiership weekend

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4807918.1538402840!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4807918.1538402840!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Livingston's Dolly Menga celebrates his goal against Rangers. Picture: SNS/Craig Williamson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Livingston's Dolly Menga celebrates his goal against Rangers. Picture: SNS/Craig Williamson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4807918.1538402840!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4807919.1538402842!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4807919.1538402842!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Gary Holt and David Martindale have Livingston well drilled. Picture: SNS/Ian Georgeson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gary Holt and David Martindale have Livingston well drilled. Picture: SNS/Ian Georgeson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4807919.1538402842!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4807920.1538402848!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4807920.1538402848!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Livingston fans have been treated to a vibrant team. Picture: SNS/Craig Williamson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Livingston fans have been treated to a vibrant team. Picture: SNS/Craig Williamson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4807920.1538402848!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5793294221001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/our-region/edinburgh/livingston-v-rangers-police-investigating-after-assistant-struck-by-object-1-4807672","id":"1.4807672","articleHeadline": "Livingston v Rangers: Police investigating after assistant struck by object","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1538386922000 ,"articleLead": "

Police in West Lothian are appealing for information after they launched an investigation following an assault during a match at Livingston’s Tony Macaroni Arena.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4807671.1538386919!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The back of assistant referee Calum Spences head after receiving treatment for a head injury. Picture; SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The assault happened around 2.50pm on Sunday, September 30, during a match between Livingston and Rangers.

An assistant referee was struck by an object, thought to be a coin, which was thrown from the stand.

READ MORE: Rangers seek to find supporter who threw object at official

The assistant referee sustained a minor injury to the back of his head and was treated at the scene.

Police were in attendance and officers are now appealing for witnesses to come forward.

Superintendent Craig Smith, Event Commander for the match, said: “This is a shocking incident and it is not the type of behaviour we have come to expect from football fans in Scotland.

“We will not tolerate offences of this nature. With this in mind we are eager to trace the person who was spotted throwing an object from the stand.

“I would also ask anyone who has information that can assist our inquiries to get in touch with us immediately. I would also ask anyone who has any photos or footage of this incident to submit this to police.”

Those with information can contact officers at Livingston Police Station on 101, quoting incident number 1324 of September 30, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4807671.1538386919!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4807671.1538386919!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The back of assistant referee Calum Spences head after receiving treatment for a head injury. Picture; SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The back of assistant referee Calum Spences head after receiving treatment for a head injury. Picture; SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4807671.1538386919!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/rangers-seek-to-find-supporter-who-threw-object-at-official-1-4807465","id":"1.4807465","articleHeadline": "Rangers seek to find supporter who threw object at official","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1538323839000 ,"articleLead": "

Rangers security chiefs will ask their Livingston counterparts for CCTV footage in a bid to help identify the culprit who targeted linesman Calum Spence with a missile.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4807464.1538323835!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The back of assistant referee Calum Spence's head after receiving treatment for an injury. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

READ MORE - Livingston 1 - 0 Rangers: Menga goal downs Gerrard’s men

The Ibrox side’s clash with Livi at the Tony Macaroni Arena was held up for several minutes after the assistant referee was struck.

The incident occurred around 15 minutes into the second half when an object was thrown from the East Stand housing the travelling Gers support.

Spence had to be treated by Lions physio Andy MacKenzie after sustaining a wound to the back of his head.

But he was able to continue and saw out the match, which Gary Holt’s side won 1-0 thanks to a Dolly Menga winner.

Gers chiefs are now set to contact Livingston’s security officers to offer assistance in tracking down the person responsible.

After the match, Rangers manager Steven Gerrard condemned the ugly scenes.

He said: “I don’t think that belongs in football does it? I think we all know that’s not right. He’s trying to do a job so that’s not right.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4807464.1538323835!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4807464.1538323835!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The back of assistant referee Calum Spence's head after receiving treatment for an injury. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The back of assistant referee Calum Spence's head after receiving treatment for an injury. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4807464.1538323835!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/livingston-1-0-rangers-menga-goal-downs-gerrard-s-men-1-4807460","id":"1.4807460","articleHeadline": "Livingston 1 - 0 Rangers: Menga goal downs Gerrard’s men","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1538317473000 ,"articleLead": "

Rangers suffered another bout of away-day blues as Dolly Menga’s strike consigned Steven Gerrard’s disjointed side to a 1-0 defeat at Livingston.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4807459.1538320499!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dolly Menga celebrates his first-half goal, which ultimately proved to be the winner. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

READ MORE - Official left bleeding after being struck during Rangers match

The Ibrox side were looking to record their first win on the road since February’s 4-1 triumph at St Johnstone, but Gary Holt’s team inflicted just Gerrard’s second defeat in 18 games as manager to leave his side eight points adrift of runaway Ladbrokes Premiership leaders Hearts.

Menga struck seven minutes before half-time and a Rangers line-up short on inspiration never looked like levelling.

While Rangers now drop down to sixth spot, Livingston climb to third and only behind Hibernian on goal difference. And there could be further trouble in store for Rangers after linesman Calum Spence had to be treated for a head wound after an object was apparently thrown from the away end.

Gerrard made eight changes to the side which swept past Ayr into the Betfred Cup semi-finals. Holt, on the other hand, went with the same Livi 11 which took a point off Hearts last week and he would have been delighted with the way his well-drilled outfit suffocated their opponents at every turn.

Rangers may have dominated possession but Livingston did more with the ball they had. They should have scored just two minutes in when Menga’s first-time lay-off sent Scott Pittman through on Allan McGregor’s goal but the midfielder tugged his big chance wide.

A deep Keaghan Jacobs free-kick then found skipper Craig Halkett but his defensive partner Alan Lithgow could only stab wide at the back post. Rangers did grab control but there looked to be more hope than belief about their play in the final third.

Alfredo Morelos certainly felt he should have had a penalty on the quarter-hour mark as he and Steven Lawless collided but referee Steven Thomson waved away the Colombian’s appeals.

Rangers managed just two first-half shots on target but former Ibrox goalkeeper Liam Kelly was barely troubled by Lassana Coulibaly’s header and a tame Ovie Ejaria strike.

While Livi’s 34th-minute opener may have been against the run of play, no one can deny they deserved it for their graft alone. Again Rangers failed to deal with a deep Jacobs set-piece. Scott Arfield did not react as Declan Gallagher slotted the ball to Scott Robinson, who kept his cool to pick out Menga for a simple finish.

Gerrard acted at the break as he swapped Coulibaly for Ryan Kent and the switch almost provided an immediate impact as the winger slotted in Morelos but the impressive Kelly raced from his line to block.

But Livingston continued to suck the visitors into playing exactly the type of game they enjoy, with Lithgow and Halkett sweeping up long ball after long ball. Holt’s side could have stretched their lead in the final stages but McGregor stood up well to deny Jacobs before Lithgow headed wide from the corner.

Rangers substitute Glenn Middleton had another late claim for a penalty as he tangled with Jacobs but again Thomson looked away.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANDY NEWPORT"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4807459.1538320499!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4807459.1538320499!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Dolly Menga celebrates his first-half goal, which ultimately proved to be the winner. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dolly Menga celebrates his first-half goal, which ultimately proved to be the winner. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4807459.1538320499!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/livingston-2-1-hibs-lennon-s-side-slump-to-first-league-defeat-1-4793544","id":"1.4793544","articleHeadline": "Livingston 2 - 1 Hibs: Lennon’s side slump to first league defeat","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1535818875000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs succumbed to their first defeat in the Ladbrokes Premiership this season after letting a second-half lead slip away to Livingston.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4793543.1535818871!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Livingston's Scott Pittman puts his side ahead. Pic: SNS/Rob Casey"} ,"articleBody": "

Daryl Horgan had appeared to set Neil Lennon’s side on the path to victory with a composed finish at the end of a goalmouth scramble. But two impressive solo goals from Shaun Byrne and Scott Pittman gave new manager Gary Holt his second victory in as many games as Livingston moved above their opponents in the league table.

The away side made two changes from last week’s 1-1 draw against Aberdeen with Jamie Maclaren returning to the starting XI following his late equaliser. He took the place of the absent David Gray, as Martin Boyle moved to right wing-back in the 3-5-2. The other change saw Lewis Allan granted his first competitive appearance for Hibs in over three years. He partnered Maclaren in attack with Oli Shaw taking up residence on the bench.

The visitors controlled the opening half hour but, aside from a few dangerous runs from Martin Boyle, they struggled to break down their organised and disciplined hosts.

Despite not seeing much of the ball in the period, it was Livingston who forced the first chance. Adam Bogdan had to be alert to tip away a hooked effort from Livi debutant Dolly Menga.

Hogdan shot over from 25 yards before Allan saw a close-range attempt deflected wide as Hibs tried in vain to find a way through. Stevie Mallan then fired high over the ball after a Boyle cross was deflected into his path.

Hibs forced Liam Kelly into his first save a minute later. Again Boyle was involved as his deflected cross dropped in the area of Allan. The youngster had to contort his body but got a good connection on his finish, which Kelly parried away at the far post.

The hosts then enjoyed their brightest spell of the period. Pittman embarked on a terrific solo run which took him from near halfway to deep inside the Hibs box as he jinked past players on the way. Just as he was about to pull the trigger, Steven Whittaker appeared to nick the ball off his toes.

Craig Halkett headed wide before Livingston blew a golden opportunity to take the lead. Menga streaked past Ryan Porteous on the counter and had a two-on-one situation with Scott Robinson against Paul Hanlon. The striker waited too long to pass for his team-mate, allowing Hanlon to get over and block the cross.

After surviving that scare, Hibs should have been ahead at the half. Boyle’s cross was missed by Allan but fell perfectly for Lewis Stevenson running in from the left wing. The defender could only side-foot his effort over the bar.

The hosts then had a similar opportunity at the beginning of the second half. Menga maneuvered around Porteous before crossing for Pittman. The midfielder failed to take a strong first touch, meaning he had to dig out his shot, which was hit right at Bogdan.

It looked like they would rue that miss when Hibs took the lead on 52 minutes. An Efe Ambrose long throw into the six-yard box started a frantic scramble. When it rolled into the path of Horgan the summer signing from Preston cooly steered his effort into the far corner with the outside of his boot.

The advantage would last only six minutes as Lennon’s men were pegged back by a terrific goal from Shaun Byrne. The defensive-midfield spoiler showed the skills of a enterprising playmaker to control a high ball before beating two defenders and drilling the ball low past Bogdan.

Buoyed by his strike, Byrne almost had the ball in the back of the net again just a few minutes later. Cutting in from the right flank, his inswinging cross almost found the far corner as it whistled just wide.

Bogdan was then forced into a full-stretch stop to tip over a Scott Pittman header as Livingston turned up the pressure.

Just after introducing Thomas Agyepong for his debut in a bid to add some creative spark, Lennon then watched his side fall behind. Again it was a poor goal for the away defence to lose, as Pittman evaded a couple of challenges inside the area before emphatically slamming his finish beyond the goalkeeper.

Hibs pushed for a late equaliser, but barring a half-chance for Boyle, which he sliced into the side netting, they couldn’t find a way through.

Livingston (3-5-2): Kelly; Gallagher, Lithgow, Halkett; Lawless (Kaja 65), Byrne, Pittman, Jacobs, Lamie; Robinson (Cadden 77), Menga (Hamilton 83). Subs not used: Stewart, McMillan, Lawson, Burns.

Hibs (3-5-2): Bogdan; Ambrose, Porteous, Hanlon; Boyle, Mallan (Agyepong 70), Whittaker, Horgan, Stevenson; Allan (Shaw 76), Maclaren (Hyndman 63). Subs not used: Laidlaw, Slivka, Murray, Mackie

Bookings: Hibs - Whittaker

Attendance: 5305

Referee: Steven McLean

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" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CRAIG FOWLER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4793543.1535818871!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4793543.1535818871!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Livingston's Scott Pittman puts his side ahead. Pic: SNS/Rob Casey","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Livingston's Scott Pittman puts his side ahead. Pic: SNS/Rob Casey","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4793543.1535818871!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/bobby-burns-joins-livingston-on-loan-from-hearts-1-4790901","id":"1.4790901","articleHeadline": "Bobby Burns joins Livingston on loan from Hearts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1535456404029 ,"articleLead": "Hearts teenager Bobby Burns has joined Livingston on loan to get regular first-team football.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4790900.1535456505!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bobby Burns is to move from Hearts on loan to Livingston"} ,"articleBody": "


A summer arrival from the Northern Irish club Glenavon, the versatile midfielder moves to Almondvale for the rest of the season after making four Hearts appearances so far.

Burns signed a three-year contract with the Edinburgh club in June and, at 18, is viewed as a prospect for the future by the Tynecastle hierarchy.

The move to Livingston is intended to let him continue developing by playing Scottish Premiership football week in and week out.

He had found himself on the periphery of the Hearts first-team recently but is expected to feature regularly under new Livingston manager Gary Holt. He will still be eligible to play reserve football for his parent club.

" ,"byline": {"email": "barry.anderson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Barry Anderson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4790900.1535456505!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4790900.1535456505!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bobby Burns is to move from Hearts on loan to Livingston","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bobby Burns is to move from Hearts on loan to Livingston","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4790900.1535456505!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/gary-holt-appointed-new-livingston-manager-1-4788500","id":"1.4788500","articleHeadline": "Gary Holt appointed new Livingston manager","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1535015468000 ,"articleLead": "

Gary Holt has been appointed new manager of Livingston, succeeding Kenny Miller.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4788499.1535015465!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gary Holt during his Falkirk days. Picture: SNS Group"} ,"articleBody": "

The former Falkirk boss could be in the dugout for Saturday’s game with St Mirren, with the West Lothian club hoping to tie up a deal by the close of play on Friday.

Miller was appointed in June but left after just seven weeks after disagreeing with the club’s request that he hang up his boots to focus on management duties.

Holt was on the four-person shortlist for the Lions job before Miller was appointed, and led the Bairns to the play-offs at the end of the 2013/14 season before leaving for Carrow Road.

The 45-year-old, who also spent time coaching with Norwich City’s academy, spent most of his playing career with Kilmarnock and the Canaries, as well as stints with Nottingham Forest and Wycombe.

The 10-cap Scotland international said he was “excited” by the opportunity and challenge, adding that he was looking forward to working with the players and backroom staff.

Ex-Arsenal captain Tony Adams had expressed an interest in the role while David Hopkin was also linked with a sensational return to the Tony Macaroni Arena.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4788499.1535015465!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4788499.1535015465!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Gary Holt during his Falkirk days. Picture: SNS Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gary Holt during his Falkirk days. Picture: SNS Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4788499.1535015465!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/tony-adams-ex-arsenal-and-england-captain-linked-with-livingston-job-1-4787903","id":"1.4787903","articleHeadline": "Tony Adams, ex-Arsenal and England captain, linked with Livingston job","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534933259000 ,"articleLead": "

Former Arsenal captain and England international Tony Adams has been linked with the Livingston job, according to reports.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4787902.1534936927!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tony Adams pictured during his time in charge of Granada. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The 51-year-old is understood to have made contact with the West Lothian side to signal his interest in succeeding Kenny Miller.

Adams, who made over 560 appearances for Arsenal, has been in Edinburgh promoting his book “Sober” and became aware of the vacancy after Miller departed the Tony Macaroni Arena after just seven weeks.

• READ MORE - Kenny Miller didn’t have autonomy at Livingston, claims John Hughes

He hasn’t managed since an ill-fated spell in charge of Spanish side Granada in 2017 resulted in the team being relegated to the country’s second tier.

Adams has also had spells managing Wycombe Wanderers, Portsmouth and Gabala in Azerbaijan. He also spent time with Chinese Super League side Chongqing Dangdai as sporting director.

However, the 66-cap England international faces competition from ex-Falkirk boss Gary Holt, and former Queen of the South manager Gavin Skelton, while David Martindale is expected to take charge of the first team this weekend.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4787902.1534936927!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4787902.1534936927!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tony Adams pictured during his time in charge of Granada. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tony Adams pictured during his time in charge of Granada. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4787902.1534936927!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/best-scottish-football-twitter-reactions-to-kenny-miller-s-livingston-exit-1-4786644","id":"1.4786644","articleHeadline": "Best Scottish football Twitter reactions to Kenny Miller’s Livingston exit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1534753294000 ,"articleLead": "

Kenny Miller became the first manager to leave their post in the Ladbrokes Premiership, parting company with Livingston. Scottish football fans had their say on Twitter.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4786642.1534753810!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kenny Miller has left Livingston. Picture: SNS/Craig Foy"} ,"articleBody": "

@JordanC1107: “Wonder who leaked the news about Kenny Miller leaving Livingston? Probably that new forward Kenny Miller they’ve signed.”

@rosspilcher: “Kenny Miller quitting as Livingston manager is the least surprising thing that will happen this season.

“It’s a funny old game” as he said about eight times during his unveiling press conference.”

@ibroxrocks: “Probably felt he was being undermined by their striker. Him.”

@mcgowan_stephen, on trying to read the Livingston’s statement on their website, tweeted: “Takes longer to open this than he lasted as manager.”

@Nareystoepoker: “Sunday afternoon - Jamie Murphy injured, leaving Rangers desperately short of strikers.

Sunday night - Kenny Miller quits Livingston.

Coincidence?”

@jonnyrmcfarlane: “Kenny Miller may have left Rangers but he’s showing an admirable continuing commitment to the banter years philosophy! #bonkers”

@ByTheMinAFC had a warning for the Aberdeen boss: “Don’t be getting any ideas Del...”

@Amoruso1998: “So Kenny Miller has left Livingston after a bust up with Kenny Miller about Kenny Miller playing ahead of Kenny Miller. Kenny Miller has yet to comment however it is to be confirmed that Kenny Miller has officially left by Lee Wallace.”

@Oldfirmfacts1: “Kenny Miller has sensationally lifted the lid on his time as Livingston boss in an explosive tell-all pamphlet”

@RJMcL: “After failing to sign Kyle Lafferty, Rangers are due to unveil Kenny Miller tomorrow.”

@Oldfirmfacts1: “Kenny Miller’s left already? He’s barely been there 5 minutes” - Willo Flood

@MarkHiggins24: “Kenny Miller has departed Livingston to concentrate on suing Rangers.”

@pieandbov: “Kenny Miller to sign for St.Mirren this week and score the winner against Livingston on Saturday would be peak Scottish Fitba”

@JPhillips_SJ: “Kenny Miller will be playing Scottish league football until he is in his mid-50s.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4786642.1534753810!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4786642.1534753810!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kenny Miller has left Livingston. Picture: SNS/Craig Foy","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kenny Miller has left Livingston. Picture: SNS/Craig Foy","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4786642.1534753810!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5790964474001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/livingston-to-shut-down-youth-academy-1-4782401","id":"1.4782401","articleHeadline": "Livingston to shut down youth academy","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1533976532642 ,"articleLead": "Livingston are to close their successful youth academy after informing parents by text that all teams would be disbanded.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4782400.1533977026!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Livingston's Almondvale base will no longer run youth teams"} ,"articleBody": "


The West Lothian club's youth sides are due to play their first Club Academy Scotland games later this month, but an announcement on Friday night told parents that the entire system would be shut down with immediate effect.

That will see more than 50 teenage players released and seeking clubs on the eve of their new season - leaving some of them in tears.

Reasons were not given but it is understood finances are one of many factors behind the decision as Livingston try to compete in the Premiership. They play their first home match in Scotland's top flight against Kilmarnock today after securing promotion from the Championship in May.

An official announcement is expected in the coming days, but parents and boys were told in a text message that several age-group sides at Almondvale are now being broken up. Under-15s, under-16s and under-18s will all be scrapped after under-13s and under-14s were stopped a few months ago. A reserve team will continue to operate below the first team for players on professional contracts.

The Scottish Football Association provides funding for clubs to run youth operations but the introduction of Project Brave saw Livingston lacking some criteria to be included in the higher performance tier this season.

Livingston's academy has been in operation for around two decades and was once one of the most prestigious in the country. It produced Scotland internationalists like Robert Snodgrass, Graham Dorrans, Leigh Griffiths and Murray Davidson.

Marc McNulty, Andy Halliday, Stefan Scougall, James McPake and the Jacobs brothers - Keaghan, Kyle, Devon and Sheldon - also came through the Livingston system to play at first-team level.

The decision to close it follows similar moves by clubs like Falkirk and Clyde in recent seasons.

" ,"byline": {"email": "barry.anderson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Barry Anderson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4782400.1533977026!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4782400.1533977026!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Livingston's Almondvale base will no longer run youth teams","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Livingston's Almondvale base will no longer run youth teams","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4782400.1533977026!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/finding-the-right-recipe-at-tony-macaroni-is-the-key-for-livingston-1-4782318","id":"1.4782318","articleHeadline": "Finding the right recipe at Tony Macaroni is the key for Livingston","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1533965400000 ,"articleLead": "

Livingston player-manager Kenny Miller believes their home form will be the key to their survival hopes as the Tony Macaroni Arena prepares to host its first top-flight game in 12 years.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4782317.1533926241!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Livingston player manager Kenny Miller"} ,"articleBody": "

Livi were handed the toughest of assignments on their Ladbrokes Premiership return when they were paired with champions Celtic in Glasgow on the opening day.

Miller was pleased with how his players stuck to their task in a 3-1 defeat but today’s visit of Kilmarnock offers a far more realistic prospect of getting off the mark in terms of points.

Livingston’s double promotion was built on the back of impressive home form but they have now installed a new artificial pitch.

And, after playing their home Betfred Cup group games at Linlithgow Rose’s ground, today gives the club a chance to promote the return of top-flight football to West Lothian.

Miller said: “Our season is not going to be defined by whether we can win at Parkhead or not, it will be these games at home, any game at home really, but particularly against teams that are going to be around us,” he said.

“It will be a tough game, for three-quarters of a season Kilmarnock were absolutely outstanding under Steve Clarke.

“We’ve had a good week’s work on the pitch, the lads have been really looking forward to getting on it. It’s the surface we are going to be playing on so we are going to become more familiar with it.

“Everybody is looking forward to it. Hopefully the fans turn out and support us and we give them a performance they deserve.”

Miller, who is looking to get at least one more new signing, was delighted with his players’ work ethic at Celtic Park and he believes a similar approach off the park can help the club continue to grow.

“The club is always looking to connect with the community and it was something that was maybe missing for a few years,” the former Rangers striker said.

“The club are trying to get as many fans through the gate as possible. There is a real family feel here, everyone mucks in together. The staff and people about the building are excellent people who are working so hard for the club.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4782317.1533926241!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4782317.1533926241!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Livingston player manager Kenny Miller","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Livingston player manager Kenny Miller","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4782317.1533926241!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/ricki-lamie-loves-playing-for-his-hero-kenny-miller-1-4778412","id":"1.4778412","articleHeadline": "Ricki Lamie loves playing for his hero Kenny Miller","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1533360600000 ,"articleLead": "

Livingston new boy Ricki Lamie is pinching himself as he prepares to line up alongside boyhood hero Kenny Miller.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4778411.1533305769!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ricki Lamie"} ,"articleBody": "

The defender, who grew up a Rangers fan, has been on the receiving end of some light-hearted stick from friends and family over an interview he gave last year in which he described the Lions’ new player-boss as his footballing idol.

But the 25-year-old summer signing is not ashamed to admit working with the former Ibrox ace is already making him a better player just a few weeks after joining Livi from Morton.

Now as he gears up for his first season in the Ladbrokes Premiership, he believes Miller’s guidance can help him make the grade in Scotland’s top division.

“That interview has been mentioned by my brother and a mate already funnily enough. It’s not surfaced in the dressing room thankfully but I’m sure someone will get hold of it.

“But to be fair, I watched the gaffer when I was younger and now getting to play alongside him every day is another feather in my cap and shows how far I’ve come.

“I find myself pinching myself that I’m playing with someone of his experience and calibre.

“Even just training alongside him every day is helping to prepare me for what I’ll be up against each week in the Premiership, especially as a defender. It’s magic.

“He has so much nous and experience and learning how he operates can only sharpen me up to take on some of the other top strikers I’ll come up against.

“His coaching is also top notch too so we’re getting the best of both worlds in terms of his playing ability and his work on the training ground.”

Newly-promoted Livi are giving Lamie his big break in the Premiership but the defender is confident stage fright will not affect his side when they take on Brendan Rodgers’ seven-in-a-row champions in today’s big kick-off at Celtic Park.

He said: “I started my career out with Airdrie in League Two and have worked my way up. I won League One with Morton and then spent the last couple of years in the Championship but all through my time in the lower leagues I’ve had that self-belief that I can go test myself in the top flight and do well.

“Now I’ve got that chance and I’m still absolutely confident that me and the rest of the boys in the team can do just that.

“If we can put our minds to it, I’m sure we’ll show we’re up for the challenge.

“Obviously Parkhead isn’t the easiest place to kick-off the campaign but the confidence is bubbling away and we will go into the game full of positivity.

“We’re taking a step into the unknown in terms of the challenges we’ll face in the Premiership. We would be naive to go into the league season putting any major expectations but I think that’s a good thing as we’re playing without pressure.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4778411.1533305769!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4778411.1533305769!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ricki Lamie","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ricki Lamie","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4778411.1533305769!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/kenny-miller-set-to-be-named-livingston-player-manager-1-4762063","id":"1.4762063","articleHeadline": "Kenny Miller set to be named Livingston player-manager","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1530294252000 ,"articleLead": "

Kenny Miller is set to be named as the new player-manager of Livingston.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4762062.1530294249!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kenny Miller will be unveiled as Livingston's new player-manager. Picture: SNS Group"} ,"articleBody": "

The former Rangers striker has been locked in talks with the West Lothian outfit for the past two weeks.

The 38-year-old had been a reported target for Aberdeen, St Mirren and former club Hibs, but is understood to have agreed a deal to succeed David Hopkin as well as prolonging his playing career.

Hopkin left the club after securing promotion to the Scottish Premiership via the play-offs, after seeing off Dundee United and Partick Thistle.

Livingston are expected to unveil Miller on Saturday, but an announcement is expected to be made later tonight.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4762062.1530294249!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4762062.1530294249!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kenny Miller will be unveiled as Livingston's new player-manager. Picture: SNS Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kenny Miller will be unveiled as Livingston's new player-manager. Picture: SNS Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4762062.1530294249!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}