Scottish Premiership: Livingston preview -Transfers | Key player | Prediction | Can Livi replicate their shock tactics?

The latest Scottish Premiership preview sees Joel Sked take a look at Livingston.

Will Livingston be as rambunctious this season? Picture: SNS
Will Livingston be as rambunctious this season? Picture: SNS

Manager

It still requires reminding. Twelve months ago Kenny Miller was Livingston manager. When he left after a handful of games there was an increased belief that Livi were destined for the drop but then Gary Holt was brought in and restored the ideals and style which saw the club record back-to-back promotions under David Hopkin.

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Last season

After Holt arrived Livi really took off. So much so that when they thumped Dundee 4-0 towards the end of October the West Lothian side were all but safe. After shocking the division and even sniffing in and around the European spaces they levelled out and slipped into the bottom six.

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Transfers

IN: Marvin Bartley (Hibernian), Robbie Crawford (Ayr United), Nicky Devlin (Walsall), Cece Pepe (Rieti), Ibrahima Savane (Bezieres), Aymen Souda (Dunarea Calarasi), Matija Sarkic (Aston Villa, loan)OUT: Liam Kelly (Queens Park Rangers, £50k), Shaun Byrne (Dundee), Nicky Cadden (Greenock Morton), Callum Crane (Edinburgh City), Declan Gallagher (Motherwell), Craig Halkett (Heart of Midlothian), Matthew Knox (Brechin City), Henk Van Schaik (Greenock Morton), Cameron Blues (Greenock Morton, loan), Raffaele De Vita (Partick Thistle, loan), Jack Hamilton (Queen of the South, loan), Dolly Menga (Petro de Luanda, loan), Ciaron Brown (Cardiff City, end of loan), Ryan Hardie (Rangers, end of loan)

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Most interesting recruit

Holt has said Aymen Souda "will bring a new dimension" to the team this season. With Dolly Menga moving to Angola on loan it is hoped that the Frenchman will provide that spark, the choas factor.

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A man of many clubs, the 26-year-old has impressed in the Betfred Cup stages, scoring twice and exciting fans with his style of play.

The club have dipped into the European market which is always hit and miss but Souda is best placed to fall into the former category.

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Key player

For Livingston to have a successful season it appears that it is going to be about the collective.

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Yet, one player came to the fore in the second half of the campaign: Steve Lawson.

After being moved around in the first part of the campaign the Togolese international shone once he was given a run in the middle of the pitch. The arrival of Marvin Bartley, who will play in the front of the defence in a likely 4-1-4-1 system, should give him the freedom to be a real box to box threat and engage with opponents higher up the pitch.

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That being said, he will have to win his place back in the team first having not featured in the Betfred Cups stages.

What do they still need?

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They have still not replaced Ryan Hardie so a striker. It is hard to see where goals are coming from with Lee Miller getting on in age and not a consistent goal scorer, while Lyndon Dykes is a facilitator.

The question: Can we expect more Livi-ball?

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Criticism or cynicism came Livingston's way with their no-nonsense, in your face, aggressive style of play. It annoyed teams of greater stature because it worked, especially on the artificial pitch at the Tony Macaroni Stadium.

They will still play with focal point forwards who are capable of being 'hit' with long balls and diagonals which gives them an effective out.

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With a switch to a back four there will be more focus down the wings while the aforementioned Bartley gives Scott Pittman, Keaghan Jacobs, Steve Lawson and others to help Livi hit teams on the counter-attack.

Any other business

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Livingston players are calling out fans to take them on in Fantasy Football. We like to see that.

Prediction

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8th

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*Transfers courtesy of Narey's Topepoker