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Match Preview | Livingston v Aberdeen
Competition: cinch Scottish Premiership
Match: Livingston v Aberdeen
Venue: Tony Macaroni Arena
Kick Off: 19:45
TV Coverage: RedTV: Video coverage – RedTV International. Audio commentary- GB & Ireland. PPV: Purchase from Livingston – please click here. Click on the ‘Away team’ option to watch our RedTV coverage.
Reaction Post Match: Full match replay available from 10pm, highlights from midnight.
The manager carried out his pre match media duties on Friday lunchtime from Cormack Park, via Zoom, as he previewed Saturday’s trip to Livingston. Watch in full on RedTV by clicking here.
“We are well aware of how much Davie (Martindale) drives his team and how much he gets out of them. We know how difficult that makes it, we know how difficult it is to win the game. We have to be at our top level attacking wise and defensively very strong. We know what is coming and we are looking forward to it.
“You don’t get to play for Davie’s team if you don’t buy into the work ethic of the team, that is pretty evident. Bruce Anderson has done brilliantly since he went away, the manager has handed him the number nine jersey and made him one of his first picks every week and he is thriving off of and it is good to see.
“We were aware of the work rate side of Vicente’s game when we were looking at him. We knew what he would add to the group. The fact that his form the other night was in patches was probably down to the whole team. The whole group played in patches the other night. We didn’t quite do enough to win the game. It is something that we are looking forward to him continuing to get better, feeling more comfortable within the group. He is visiting new stadiums as well at the moment. You see a level of performance and desire to go out and win games for the group.
“He has a chance of getting some minutes tomorrow. He is one of the squad that has got the chance to play. We have got to pick a team, he was brought here for a reason and we feel like he can help our group. We have got a good group of players that can all help us. I am not going to start to give the team away saying if Adam is playing or not!
“We know Jonny’s desire to be here. He knows what we think of him and his energy levels show that he can continue to play next season no problem. His energy levels are fantastic, his quality for the goal the other night was top level as well. It is brilliant when a senior player is pushing like that because they are a great example for the young ones. You need that around.
“Fans feed off the energy as well, they see a pure desire to do well. It goes a long way. As many guys like him with that experience that can help the younger players you can have around the place, it definitely helps everything. It helps the bigger picture which is helping the young players as well. Jonny is great around the place.
“We are as we were from the other night. Connor Barron is still not back from his short illness, that has been disappointing after he got in the team and got his debut, that would’ve been brilliant for him to build on that. We are looking forward to him coming back next week.
“Marley is seeing someone next week and we should have a clearer picture at that point. He is still a little bit away.
Training Ground Work
“We are reinforcing the messages that have gone on before. There is nothing that can’t be put right that is happening. Earlier on in the season we were giving away goals pretty cheaply, we have managed to stop that I feel. There are times we have got a lot of possession that we should be doing better with. That is our biggest focus. There are times when we have been a bit easy to play against and that needs fixing as well. The boys know where the areas of concerns are. They know how to fix it, they know what it felt like when it has been good. It is important to look at the positive side and to keep the positives coming more than dwelling on the negatives. We know there are issues that needs fixing.
“I don’t think there is a mental block away from home. It has been situations that have unfolded. There have been some good performances on the road, I don’t think that we have got what we have deserved on the road. You can sit and say that all you like, we need to put it right on the pitch. We have won at Livingston this season, we know if there are mental blocks going to stadiums then there shouldn’t be for this one. I don’t think that is the case anyway.
“You know what you are going to come up against, teams are going to try and impose themselves early, if you show that you are not up for a fight then you are in for a long afternoon. That is certainly the case at Livi. I know how Davie operates, I know what his teams do. You need to be up for the battle before you get any opportunity to play.
“I look at ourselves in the building. I know we are four points off fourth and we also have a game in hand. It is important that we look after our business. Talk is cheap. I know there is a bit of negativity flying around because people make me aware of it. That is part of the pressure of playing and working at this club, the expectation level is high. We all want to be higher up the table, we accept when there is criticism, wherever it comes from and it is up to us to put it right.
“You don’t want to take a step backwards at any point when you are building runs, building unbeaten runs, winning runs or whatever the case might be. The only thing that you focus on is the game on Saturday coming up and that is what we have coming up at Livingston away. We will take care of that and see where we are leading into the next run of games.
“I don’t foresee anymore players heading out on loan. Potentially free markets coming in, you are always looking. As it gets longer the numbers get lower of the players who are out of contract who are capable of doing you a job. We are working on bits and pieces but it is a two way street. People need to want to come to your club as well. You can like players and you can want players but if they have other options that they see as better then sometimes that happens.
“The overriding thing for Dean is to impress here. He is going to a good manager, at a good team that is challenging to win a league. There is a level of expectation there and that is why Derek has brought Dean to the club. He has had a desire to play midfield, to get a run of games, it has not quite happened here this season but if he goes and gets a run of games then there is no reason why he can’t go and hit the team hard next year. That is the reason why Dean is looking forward to this opportunity as well and it is important that he is on board with that. He was one of the driving forces of it.”
So Far This Season
This will be the third meeting between ourselves and David Martindale’s side this season with The Dons triumphing on both occasions. Our first meeting came back in August in our second game of the season. After a sluggish first half performance from The Dons, it was Livi who led at the break thanks to a flicked header from former Aberdeen striker Bruce Anderson. Aberdeen came out with more energy in the second half and equalised not long after the re-start when Teddy Jenks fired in his first ever senior goal. With the game looking like it was heading for a draw, Jack MacKenzie sent the away fans wild when his right footed shot was spilled by the Livi keeper and ended up in the back of the net.
Dons Line Up: Lewis, Gurr (Ramsay), MacKenzie, McGeouch, Gallagher, Considine, McGinn (Ramirez), Jenks, JET, Hedges, Hayes (Brown).
The second league match came at the start of December when we claimed the three points with a 2-0 victory at Pittodrie. The Dons opened the scoring when Ryan Hedges finished off a great team move. David Bates scored his first Aberdeen goal in the second half to claim all three points when he brilliantly volleyed in a Jonny Hayes free-kick. The away side finished the game with 10 men when Jackson Longridge was shown a second yellow card midway through the second half.
Dons Line Up: Lewis, Ojo, Hayes, Brown, McCrorie, Bates, Ferguson, JET, Ramirez (McLennan), Hedges (Samuels), Watkins (McGinn).
⏪ The last time out against Livi. pic.twitter.com/er08tbFRrg
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) February 4, 2022
Match Page - Formation
Match Page - Text Commentary
Report | Dons defeated in West Lothian battle
LIVINGSTON 2 ABERDEEN 1
Tony Macaroni Arena
Saturday 5th February 2022
Referee: Kevin Clancy
A frenetic final 25 minutes from the Dons wasn’t enough to rescue a point after Livingston had been allowed a two goal start, the home side hanging on to take all three points, their first win against Aberdeen at home for 18 years. There were 13 bookings in what turned out to be a bruising encounter.
Following the 1-1 draw at Ross County in midweek, Stephen Glass made three changes to his side for the trip to Livingston with Scott Brown and Dylan McGeouch dropping to the bench and Joe Lewis unavailable for the game through illness. In came Gary Woods, Teddy Jenks and debutant Adam Montgomery. Ross McCrorie captained the Dons for the first time.
Livingston lost 2-1 home to St Johnstone last Tuesday and made two changes to their starting XI with Scott Pittman and Odin Bailey among the subs. Into the side in their place came Adam Lewis and Cristian Montano.
In the pouring rain and swirling wind, Aberdeen started briskly, right on the attack, a good period of passing ending with Montgomery teeing up Funso Ojo 25 yards out. He didn’t look convinced of his footing on the Livingston surface as he came onto the ball, and skied his shot into the crowd in the second minute.
It was Livingston who were in front on eight minutes though. The ball was floated into the box from a free-kick wide on their left and headed clear by Montgomery. Anderson’s angled shot took a deflection into the path of Obileye who, from eight yards out, manufactured a clever flick over Woods and into the roof of the net.
On 17 minutes, the Dons won a corner and from Calvin Ramsay’s delivery, Lewis Ferguson was screaming for a penalty after being clearly pulled to the ground by Devlin. Referee Clancy waved the game on. The assistant referee had a great view of the incident but did not raise his flag.
Ramsay threatened next for Aberdeen on 20 minutes, cutting inside and having a shot from 20 yards, the ball deflected just over the bar. The Dons were moving the ball nicely without being able to really get in on the Livi goal.
Livingston responded midway through the half, Montano giving the opportunity to run across the face of goal before firing in a skidding shot from 25 yards, Woods down to his right to make a scrambling save.
Aberdeen got away with one on 35 minutes when a poor ball across the face of goal by Jonny Hayes was intercepted by Forrest. He caught his effort nicely from the edge of the box but fortunately, the ball drifted just over.
Fitzwater was the first player to be booked on 38 minutes, a burst from Vicente Besuijen ended with a hack on the halfway line. Omeonga followed him three minutes later for bundling Ferguson over – he had already been warned by the referee after a number of fouls from him.
In the final minute of the half, Ramsay and Hayes were over a free-kick from 40 yards out that ended with Hayes advancing half a dozen paces before swiping a rising shot over the bar. There was still time for Lewis to become the third home player to be booked after clearing out McCrorie on halfway.
The Dons will have been disappointed with the conditions the way they were, that they did not test Stryjek once during that first half.
HALF-TIME: LIVINGSTON 1 ABERDEEN 0
Jack MacKenzie was Aberdeen’s first change as the sides came back out, Jenks withdrawn. Livingston replaced Lewis with Pittman.
Three minutes into the half, it was 2-0 to Livi, Montano dragging a ball forward that got Forrest in behind the Dons’ defence. He looked suspiciously offside but no flag came and, from there, Forrest advanced into the box and finished neatly, clipping the ball over Woods.
David Bates stumbled to the turf on 51 minutes and took some lengthy treatment before continuing. It was very close to three on 54 minutes, Livi coming forward in numbers. Holt came onto a loose ball 25 yards out. Trying to bend his shot into the far corner, Woods made a fine save at full stretch, just getting enough on the ball to divert it onto the post.
The Dons had their first positive moment of the half on 58, Ramsay drifting in from the right before firing a shot at goal, Stryjek saving comfortably. A minute later, Devlin strolled into the Aberdeen box with ease, McCrorie getting in the way of the cross before voicing his displeasure at his colleagues. Matty Kennedy replaced Ramsay on 64 minutes in the Dons’ next change.
It paid instant dividends. Kennedy was away down the left and drilled a low cross through the box. Hayes came in at the back post and chipped the ball back across goal where Kennedy got his head on it, down to Christian Ramirez who produced a fine finish from eight yards out, ramming the ball into the roof of the net to give Aberdeen hope.
Montano was booked on 68 for preventing Aberdeen from taking a set piece quickly. Hayes and Pittman were next for the book on 71 minutes after an altercation when Pittman was trying to slow the game down from a Dons free-kick. Stryjek was next to be carded, this time for dissent on 73. Stephen Glass also found his name in the referee’s notebook a couple of minutes later.
Aberdeen had finally come alive now, looking much more fiery in the teeming rain.
Ferguson pounded in a great near post header on 77 minutes from a Hayes cross, Stryjek up to his left to push the ball behind. The Dons were keeping Livi penned in and two minutes later, a dangerous cross from Besuijen came into the box, Ferguson stretching for the volley, putting it wide of goal.
Besuijen was booked after an altercation with Montano, the Livi man collecting his second yellow of the game, leaving the hosts eight minutes to play with ten men. Chukwuemeka and Boyes replaced Anderson and Forrest in the aftermath, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas on for Montgomery for the Dons as three minutes had passed without any play taking place, Livi taking the sting, and Aberdeen’s momentum, out of the game. Ojo was next to be cautioned on 87 minutes.
McCrorie advanced forward on 89, before hammering a drive at goal from 35 yards, Stryjek clutching the ball safely. Holt went into the book for preventing the Dons taking a free-kick on 90 minutes, Bailey replacing Chukwuemeka at the same moment.
Aberdeen were inches away from a goal from the free-kick, admirable patience from Besuijen to wait before putting his cross in. It reached Emmanuel-Thomas but somehow, his shot was scrambled off the line, Stryjek then completing the clearance. The goalkeeper was then twice throwing himself across goal to punch clear from another Besuijen cross as Aberdeen poured forward in added time, Stryjek on the floor and calling for treatment on both occasions as Livi desperately tried to stop the Dons’ momentum. By now, we’d had about 60 seconds of football in the four minutes of added time.
Ramirez was next to have a chance, a cross reaching him at the back post, his effort on the turn crashing into a slew of black shirts, Livi having everyone back in the box. In the end though, it was a case of too little, too late from Aberdeen.
FULL-TIME: LIVINGSTON 2 ABERDEEN 1
LIVINGSTON: Stryjek, Devlin, Fitzwater, Obileye, Penrice, Lewis (Pittman 46), Holt, Omeonga, Montano, Anderson (Chukwuemeka 84, (Bailey 90+1)), Forrest (Boyes 84).
Subs not used: Maley, Longridge, McMillan, Sibbald, Kelly.
GOALS: Obileye (8), Forrest (49)
BOOKED: Fitzwater, Omeonga, Lewis, Forrest, Montano, Pittman, Stryjek
SENT OFF: Montano
ABERDEEN: Woods, Ramsay (Kennedy 64), McCrorie, Bates, Hayes, Ojo, Jenks (MacKenzie 46), Ferguson, Montgomery (Emmanuel-Thomas 84), Besuijen, Ramirez.
Subs not used: Ritchie, Brown, McGeouch, Gallagher, Milne, Ruth.
GOAL: Ramirez (66)
BOOKED: Hayes, Ojo, MacKenzie