Livingston out to derail Falkirk’s title pursuit

Livingston v Falkirk

LIVINGSTON manager Gary Bollan is hoping that it is his side’s turn to come out on top against Falkirk after having only one point to show for their efforts from two meetings this season.

Bollan said: “The games have been exciting, with Falkirk getting an injury-time penalty to draw in the first meeting [at Almondvale] and then we came back from 3-0 down to level before losing 4-3 at their place in the next game. It would be great to have another cracking meeting, but with Livingston coming out on top this time.”

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The Lions received a new year boost with Maurice Ross and Mark Fotheringham signing deals until the end of the month which will allow them to feature against the Bairns. However, they have ruled out full back Jonathan Brown through injury, with his defensive partner Jason Talbot a major doubt.

Second-placed Falkirk are looking to get over losing an injury-time equaliser to leaders Ross County on Boxing Day.

Technical director, Alex Smith, said: “We have had two great games [against Livingston] this season and are looking forward to a third. A win will keep us right on the tail of Ross County.”

Defender Darren Dods is expected to shake off a knee knock to feature, but midfielder Stewart Murdoch looks set to miss out because of a knee injury.

Morton v Ayr United

Morton’s on-loan Celtic goalkeeper Dominic Cervi will appear for the last time before returning to Parkhead, with the Greenock men again missing defenders Ross Forsyth and Stuart McCaffrey.

Manager Allan Moore said: “A win over Ayr would get 2012 off to a great start and give us an excellent platform to have a good third-quarter after a bad run.”

Eddie Malone returns to the Ayr team after suspension, but centre back Martyn Campbell is out following knee surgery.

Manager Brian Reid said: “After three weeks without a game, we were rusty in the opening half against Raith Rovers last week but much better in the second. I am looking for the team to start where they left off in that game.”

Queen of South v Hamilton

Queen of the South have a full squad for the first time this season, and manager Gus MacPherson said: “Hamilton will be coming here looking to double the advantage they have on us, whereas a win would pull us level so it should be a good game.”

Accies goalkeeper Tomas Cerny remains on the sidelines with a shoulder injury, and Alan Combe should play his second game as a trialist. The New Douglas Park squad has been boosted by the returns of Ziggy Gordon and Stephen Hendrie after illness. Striker Matt Paterson has returned to Southend after his loan spell.

Hamilton manager Billy Reid said: “We are looking a more solid side nowadays but we need to be more creative in the opponents’ half.”

Raith Rovers v Dundee

Rovers defender Willie Dyer is a doubt due to a dead leg while winger Scott McBride and back-up goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw are absent after knocks.

However, John McGlynn’s side hope that Iain Davidson can play despite having stitches in a head wound he suffered in their drawn Boxing Day encounter with Ayr United.

McGlynn said: “We picked up four points out of six on our travels in the last two games and we want to build on that.”

Dundee defender Rhys Weston looks set to be out due to an injured ankle, and midfielder Stephen O’Donnell is suspended for a second game. Dens Park manager Barry Smith is wary of Rovers, saying: “They have experienced players throughout their team and attacking players that can hurt you, so we need to be at our best to win.”

Ross County v Partick Thistle

Leaders County welcome back striker Sam Morrow after three months out, but defenders Jonny Flynn and Marc Fitzpatrick are injured.

Manager Derek Adams said: “It would be a fantastic start to 2012 if we got a win, but I am sure that Jackie McNamara will be saying exactly the same thing.”

Thistle will be without Willie Kinniburgh and Ryan MacBeth due to long-term injuries, while the fitness of Jonny Lindsay and Christie Elliot is also doubtful.

McNamara said: “Country are an experienced side and hard to break down, but we have done well recently so we can be positive and take the game to them.”