Livingston defender Craig Sives today revealed he answered an SOS call from boss Mark Burchill to play a pivotal role in the 4-0 rout of Raith Rovers on Saturday.
The former Jambo, below, had missed Livi’s last five outings due to a niggling ankle injury picked up in training just days before the Petrofac Training Cup final and he had not featured since the 2-2 result against Alloa in the Championship at the end of last month.
However, with Darren Cole suspended for the trip to Kirkcaldy having been sent off in last midweek’s defeat by Hibs, Burchill was relieved to see the experienced Sives declare himself able to take his place at the heart of the Livi defence.
And, ultimately, it proved to be a gamble worth taking as the 29-year-old not only scored the Lions’ second of the afternoon, he and team-mate Declan Gallagher never gave an inch to Raith’s front pairing of Mark Stewart and Christian Nade as Livi picked up all three points that moved them off the bottom of the table at the Wasps’ expense.
“Last Friday was the first time I had fully trained since before the Petrofac final,” Sives told the Evening News. “I tried to make it back against Falkirk and then against both Rangers and Hibs but I still wasn’t right. I was a bit sore afterwards but that’s to be expected as I’m still not 100 per cent fit, but it was good to get back and help the team.
“It’s a massive relief to finally be off the bottom but we’ve always known that we are more than capable of staying in the league. If we never had the five-point deduction then we’d be safe which is really frustrating but we are where we are so we’ve just got to make sure we get the three points on Saturday against Queen of the South and everything else will take care of itself.”
As compact as Livi were, their opponents were alarmingly poor and were booed off the field by those that remained at full time.
“They are safe,” Sives said. “I don’t know what their contracts are for next season. I suppose they can kind of relax but at the same time, the fans are paying their money. But I think we started the game really well and didn’t allow Raith to get into the game.”