McGlynn calls on toothless Livingston to rally

John McGlynn admits his Livingston team have become a 'soft touch'. Pic: Bill Murray/SNS
John McGlynn admits his Livingston team have become a 'soft touch'. Pic: Bill Murray/SNS
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The fact the Hibs team bus was packed up and en route back to the Capital by the time Livingston boss John McGlynn had emerged from the dressing-room told a story in itself.

The Lions’ 4-0 humbling by Hibs on Saturday evening has left the club at the foot of the Championship after what was their fourth consecutive league defeat.

Livi were quite simply toothless, particularly in the first half, with Hibs having gone ahead through Dominique Malonga’s strike on the half hour, the striker making amends after passing up a gilt-edged chance after just three minutes.

But further second-half goals from Danny Handling, Dylan McGeouch and substitute Paul Heffernan had the Easter Road outfit in complete control and sent alarm bells ringing for the home contingent gathered around the Energy Assets Arena.

However, McGlynn is adamant his players won’t hit the panic button just yet despite having failed to score in their last four league outings while shipping 11 in the process.

“No-one else is going to get out of this bar us,” the dejected manager admitted afterwards. “I’m not going to be naive and say that we’re comfortable with our position. At the end of the day you’ve got to get results. The last few weeks I think the fixtures have been difficult for us with Rangers, Hearts and Hibs coming one after another but then that’s going to happen to the other sides. We had a discussion [after the game]. We know we’re not working hard enough and that we’ve been a bit of a soft touch so we need to get away from that.

“We didn’t do enough to take anything out of the game. It’s a sore one. We had an opportunity early in the second half when Kyle [Jacobs] got a header from a corner kick that looked goal bound but was cleared and, had we scored then, it might have made a difference. But the best team won the game so there’s no doubt about that. The first goal came from a mistake from DJ [goalkeeper Darren Jamieson] but he’s been different class so we cannot really complain about that.”

McGlynn continued: “It’s a heavy defeat that we could have done without but we’ve got a game tomorrow night against Falkirk that we need to try and respond in. The good thing is we don’t have to wait seven days again to get playing so we can get in as quickly as we can. We got to a cup final last week so I was looking for the team to get a boost and kick on, but we’ve ended up with a heavy defeat at home so it’s hard to take.”

The former Hearts and Raith Rovers boss did pay homage to Alan Stubbs’ side for the creativity that exploited the Livi defence on numerous occasions throughout the match – Handling’s goal a deft display of some neat one-touch football that led to a clinical finish from the Hibs youngster.

McGlynn now expects Hibs to push and challenge both Rangers and Hearts at the business end of the table.

“I think Hibs are a better side than what their league position is showing,” he said. “I’ve seen them a few times and even last weekend they dominated the whole game against Dumbarton. Hibs should have more points and should have won more games than they have. I think they are a decent side and they denied us the opportunity to play ourselves. I would think Hibs will go on and be the third force so maybe now we go and play in our own league to an extent where we come up against the likes of Falkirk, Queen of the South and the others.”

Midfield powerhouse Keaghan
Jacobs, who was replaced at half-time, is almost certain to miss out tomorrow night at the Falkirk Stadium after being taken to hospital for an X-ray on his leg following a robust challenge with Hibs midfielder Scott Robertson.

McGlynn added: “We’ve got one or two knocks. Keaghan is a key player for us so that’s bad if he is out. We’ve got a fairly tight squad and with the transfer embargo, that was 
always my concern if the injuries started to pile up.”