John McGlynn calls on Livingston to emulate Raith Rovers

John McGlynn's team travelled north today for tomorrow's tie at Peterhead. Photograph: SNS
John McGlynn's team travelled north today for tomorrow's tie at Peterhead. Photograph: SNS
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Livingston boss John McGlynn has told his players to look no further than his former club and current cup holders Raith Rovers for inspiration as the Lions make the long trip north to face Peterhead in the quarter-final of the Petrofac Training Cup tomorrow.

McGlynn was in charge of the Kirkcaldy club for six years before being enticed back to Hearts two years ago. And he paid close attention as his old team savoured their Challenge Cup final victory over Rangers at Easter Road in April.

Tomorrow at Balmoor, McGlynn will hope to lead his Livingston side another step closer to emulating Rovers’ exploits, with a place in the last four up for grabs.

“We’re looking at this being a very big game for the football club,” McGlynn said. “There could well be some big rewards having seen how Raith Rovers went on to win the cup in front of a big crowd at Easter Road when they played Rangers last year.

“It did a lot for their season with the celebrations they had after the game so we would love to be part of a game of that magnitude.

“There is a psychological advantage that if you do well in the cups then it can help you in the league as well.

“There are obviously no Premiership clubs and with Hearts and Hibs out already, it does open the door up for someone else to get to a final and possibly win it.

“We feel if we play to our capabilities then we can be the team to do that.

“I don’t think this match will define our season but it would certainly be a bonus to get into the last four. But we have to take care of Peterhead first.”

The West Lothian club’s team bus is making the 160-mile trip north to Aberdeenshire this afternoon to give the players the best possible preparation for their visit to a side who sit mid-table in League 1 with one victory and two draws from their four games so far.

McGlynn himself has already watched a Peterhead clash this season and is under no illusion about the problems the Blue Toon may pose.

“I took in the Peterhead- Brechin game earlier this season so I have had a look at them,” McGlynn said.

“We also had them watched last weekend, again against Brechin, so we will go over a number of points with the players.

“It is a difficult place to go. They have experience in their team. They’ve got Graeme Smith in goals and everyone knows how good Rory McAllister is up front, with the number of goals he gets. Mark Millar is another one.

“But at the same time, it is our ambition to get into the semi-final so we need to enforce our own game and let them worry about us.”

Livingston succumbed to their second league defeat of the season last weekend after a narrow loss at Dumbarton, where substitute Chris Kane’s 89th minute goal denied the visitors a point from a game they had dominated for long spells.

The Lions carved out numerous chances, particularly in the first half, and McGlynn pinpointed his side’s lack of killer instinct in front of goal as his main concern.

He said: “We’ve looked at the game from last week and it was definitely a missed opportunity as the first half we should have been out of sight.

“That’s football, though, and if you don’t take your chances then sometimes it comes back to bite you, so it was a sore one to take.

“It is really the only game this season where we’ve played well and not taken the points when we’ve deserved them.

“Over a 36-match campaign, there will be days where you don’t get everything you deserve but you hope it evens itself out over the course of the season. We’ve got be more clinical in front of goal and that was the only thing missing in the first half last weekend.

“We played some great football and I’m hopeful if we can do this tomorrow and take our chances then we’ll all be delighted coming back down the road from Peterhead.”

The continuity in McGlynn’s starting XI so far this season has been a source of encouragement for the manager.

However, the welcome return of striker Rob Ogleby from injury last week at Dumbarton may give McGlynn some thinking to do ahead of tomorrow’s clash.

“We haven’t changed the side an awful lot and I am a great believer in the players pick the team with their performances – that’s how I’ve always worked,” said the manager.

“It was good to get Rob back as he’s been out since the Albion Rovers game.

“He also got 90 minutes in the development team against Forfar on Tuesday night so we won’t be making many changes but there may the odd one here and there.”