Match preview: Ross County travel to West Lothian to take on in-form Livingston
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Four points from their last two matches show that John Hughes may be starting to turn things around at Ross County, but it will be a tough ask to pick up another result away at Livingston.
The Lions have won seven matches in a row across all competitions, and the Staggies would do well to put a halt to the plaudits directed towards David Martindale.
County will need to keep getting results though, as despite recent weeks' outcomes they are still at the bottom of the Premiership table – a position they will want to escape from as quickly as possible.
Ross County: Callum Morris and Carl Tremarco should be fit enough to return to the squad, as will Alex Iacovitti who missed last weekend's match against St Johnstone with a bug.
The match may come a little too early for Ross Stewart though, although his hamstring issue was not as bad as first feared.
New signing Tony Andreu could make his debut after signing for the club late in the week, but fellow new arrival Mohamed Maouche must complete an isolation period before he can make his first appearance in Staggies blue.
Livingston: Gavin Reilly is in contention to make his debut for Livi after signing earlier this week from Carlisle United.
Scott Tiffoney and Jack Fitzwater are both pushing for returns after recent injury issues, bolstering the options available to Martindale.
Ross County: drew 1–1 at home against St Johnstone, won 2–0 away at Hibernian, lost 2–0 at home against St Mirren, lost 2–0 away at Celtic, lost 2–0 at home against Hamilton.
Livingston: won 3–0 away at Hibernian, won 2–1 away at Kilmarnock, won 2–0 away at Hamilton, won 2–0 at home against Ross County, won 2–1 away at St Johnstone.
Head-to-head (all competitions)
Ross County 5
Last five meetings
Livingston 2–0 Ross County – Betfred Cup, Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Ross County 1–1 Livingston – Premiership, Friday, November 6, 2020
Livingston 1–0 Ross County – Premiership, Saturday, August 29, 2020
Ross County 2–0 Livingston – Premiership, Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Livingston 4–0 Ross County – Premiership, Saturday, December 21, 2019
Ones to watch
Ross County: Stephen Kelly – the young midfielder has slowly become a key part of the County midfield, and even in matches where results did not go their way Kelly impressed with his ball retention.
With the addition of two new midfielders this week, the gauntlet has been thrown down to the existing cohort in the middle of the park, and it is a challenge the likes of Kelly will need to rise to.
He has already shown mental strength to force his way into the starting 11 after having to be patient for his chance, and that same resolve will be vital if the 20-year-old is to remain a regular.
Livingston: Jon Guthrie – the 28-year-old has played an important role at the back for Livi, but his recent form in front of goal makes him just as much of a threat at the other end of the pitch.
He has three goals in his last five appearances, so the centre back will be looking to extend his impressive run on home turf this afternoon.
Ross County manager John Hughes' pre-match thoughts
"You know what Livingston's all about, they're on a fantastic run, and it's always a difficult game.
"They beat us the last time we met in the quarter final of the cup down at Livingston, so we know the difficulty of the game.
"They have a team spirit, and a work ethic. They play nice football, they have plenty of players who will put their foot on the ball – Sibbald, Robinson, Holt in the hole – and everyone knows their job.
"We know how difficult it is, you just need to look at their result against Hibs to see that, but it's all to play for.
"I have to go and pick a team based on the strengths and weaknesses of Livingston, as well as my own team, and all I've said to my boys in every game we've been in is to make sure the other team knows they've been in a game."