Livingston boss David Hopkin has called on the club’s supporters to do their part in helping steer his players to Championship safety.
The Lions travel to League 1 outfit Stranraer tonight for their relegation play-off semi-final first leg before the return leg at the Tony Macaroni Arena on Saturday. The winner of the tie will face either Ayr or Peterhead for the right to compete in Scottish football’s second tier next season.
Livi lost out to an Aidan Connolly goal in the defeat to Raith Rovers on Saturday, but Hopkin says his players remain in buoyant mood after the recent victory over champions Rangers.
Although admitting the club’s fate ultimately lies with the team he chooses to put out, the former Leeds and Crystal Palace striker believes the fans also have a significant role in helping the club preserve their Championship status.
“The fans are going to have a massive part to play over the next couple of weeks,” Hopkin said. “They’re going to have to get the team through it because we’re carrying a very young team. I think if you look at last year when we stayed up on the final day of the season, we had nine or ten guys who had all played at this level for seven or eight years. We don’t have that sort of experience this time round.
“It’s not all just about the players because the fans will of course want us to stay in the Championship next season, so we really need their support.”
Hopkin is under no illusions as to the threat Stranraer will pose this evening, having had them watched on several occasions.
“They’re a decent side and I know Brian [Reid] well,” he said. “We had them watched on Saturday again so we know it’s going to be a difficult game, but we need to make sure the players are all mentally and physically prepared. Anything can happen over two legs. We’ll go down there and be positive and then come back to our place on Saturday.
“I’ve been really happy with the way we’ve played over the last couple of weeks. We’ve had a chance to bring in the likes of Matthew Knox and Ryan Currie and they’ve done well.”