Scott Robinson hears the carping about Livingston’s style of play. It’s too aggressive, it’s agricultural, it’s brutal to watch, they say. The midfielder enjoys a wry smile at such comments because it proves David Hopkin’s side are getting under people’s skin.
Livi’s tenacity has brought them within 90 minutes of a most unlikely promotion. They head to Firhill tomorrow with a 2-1 lead from the first leg of their Premiership play-off with Partick Thistle. Yet it was notable that, for everything said about Livingston’s aggression, both their goals on Thursday night were well-worked. Robinson is happy for others to sit in judgment.
Regardless what is said, Livingston won’t change for anyone. Not now. “We don’t mind what gets said, honestly. We know that, if people are saying that, they must not enjoy playing against us,” said the former Hearts midfielder, now 26.
“We’ve got a style and it’s working, but we can play a bit as well. There are a lot of boys with ability in that dressing room. The gaffer has drilled a mentality and a style into us that gets results and it all comes from hard work.
“We know we need to be switched on for the full 90 minutes tomorrow. Partick will be right up for it. They’re fighting for their lives but we’ve got nothing to lose. We will work hard, keep a shape about us and hopefully nick a goal. If we score then they need to score two just to get extra-time.”
Robinson is riding a wave of euphoria in West Lothian at the moment. Livingston were promoted into the Championship just 12 months ago, yet with one of the division’s smallest budgets are sitting on the brink of the top flight.
They last played there in 2006 and suffered administration and demotion to Scottish football’s bottom tier in the intervening years. “We felt we could get into the play-offs but we never thought of getting to the play-off final,” admitted Robinson.
Promotion would take the player back to where he feels he belongs. After leaving formative club Hearts and spending a year at Kilmarnock, injuries took their toll. He joined part-time East Fife before a visit to a well-known Bradford surgeon changed his career.
“I went down to Bradford to see Dr Schilders last summer,” explained Robinson. “He pinpointed what was wrong and told me I had a small tear in my oblique muscle. He said that was causing all my groin injuries. He went in, released the ligament and put some mesh in. That solved the problem.
I’m feeling strong so long may that continue.
“It would be brilliant to get back in the Premiership. Our target at the start of the season was to stay in the league. To be in this position, we’ve nothing to lose now. We just have to keep going, and who knows? We all believe we can do it but I would say Partick are still favourites.”