Rangers travel to Livingston on Saturday for what can only be described as a must win game for us after the abysmal performance against Hibs on Monday night.
The stats for the league this season tell us that we have now played 7 games, of which we won 4, drew 1 and lost 2. The fact that both losses occurred at Ibrox hurts, but the fact both losses occurred at the hands of our old Edinburgh enemies in Hearts and Hibs really really hurts.
I could write a whole blog, in fact probably a whole book about the things that have went wrong at Ibrox this season alone, however to save me from having a stress induced heart attack at the ripe young age of 30 I’m going to tell you a little more about Livingston.
Like us, Livingston come into this match on the back of a defeat at the hands of an Edinburgh based club after a 5-0 tanking from Hearts at Tynecastle, which I’m sure the hearts fans looked at as revenge for the defeat the Hearts boys club received in the Petrofac Training cup earlier in the season.
Some of you will probably remember the days Livingston played under the alias of Meadowbank Thistle, with even less of you remembering them as Ferranti Amateurs or Ferranti Thistle.
It was in 1974, with the demise of Third Lanark and the expansion of the new three tier format of the Scottish Football League that they were narrowly chosen over Inverness Thistle to enter the Scottish Leagues. This prompted Ferranti Thistle to move to the Meadowbank stadium and subsequently rename as Meadowbank Thistle due to the stringent SFL rules on overt sponsorship of teams at the time.
In 1995, after a 21 years of ups and downs the team relocated and changed their name again to Livingston F.C. With a cash injection came a new lease of life and within 6 years, in season 2000/2001, they were promoted to the top tier of Scottish football. Remarkably they finished 3rd in their first season, subsequently winning entry to European football for the first time.
After beating of FC Vaduz of Liechtenstein on the away goal rule following a 1–1 draw they came up against SK Sturm Graz of Austria, and after a 14 goal, 2 leg affair they missed out on the second round, going out on the wrong side of an 8–6 aggregate scoreline.
Unfortunately for them, that was their peak years and their decline into administration in Feb 2004 was devastating for the West Lothian club. It took years for Livingston to sort out there financial and ownership issues.
The next paragraph, I’m going to shamelessly steal from Livingston’s Wikipedia entry, as it was something I only really learned about whilst reading up on the history of Livingston F.C. This is regarding their second period in Administration in 2009:
"Despite the prospective new owners ensuring that Livingston's future as a professional football club would be secure for the next year at least by paying a £720,000 bond to the SFL, on 5 August 2009 the Scottish Football League took the unprecedented move to demote Livingston to the Third Division. A breach of rules on insolvency was the main reason behind the decision. The administrator of the club, Donald McGruther, admitted his concern after the decision, saying that "In my view, this represents the death knell of Livingston Football Club”. Gordon McDougall, a member of the Livingston 5 Consortium stated that “We've got to consider all the options that are open to us – it makes it very, very difficult”. It was feared that the club could not survive in the Third Division due to a significant loss of revenue. However, despite the decision and the likely financial impacts, the consortium continued with their bid to take over the club. An appeal was lodged and as a result the club refused to play their opening Division Three fixture against East Stirlingshire on 8 August 2009. Because of this, the club were threatened with a points deduction, but in the event they were given a £3,000 fine for their actions. This was later overturned on appeal, meaning that the club ultimately escaped any punishment for their boycott of the match. On 7 September 2009 a further appeal to the SFA was dismissed, and the club finally accepted their Third Division fate."
“took the unprecedented move”
So, if there were any doubters remaining out there, unprecedented moves are nothing new within the corridors of Scottish football.
In another story that may sound scarily familiar with us Rangers fans, we travel to play Livingston tomorrow in the Energy Assets Arena, which to every man, woman and dog in West Lothian is actually still the Almondvale stadium. No matter what their stadium is called nowadays, this is a game we simply cannot afford to lose.
To be 6 clear points behind Hearts after only 7 games is worse than shameful.
To be 9 points behind after 8 games would surely put the writing on the wall for Mr McCoist.
The starting line-up, well let’s be honest, will for sure have the same look we have had all year, so expect Jig, Boyd and Wallace as certain starters and Simonsen will start with Bell not fully ready to return.
I would expect Black, Law and our other fringe player Templeton to make an appearance at some point in the match.
I don’t expect Peralta will make the starting 11 again, surly not, but hey, Ally never surprises me any longer so who knows, he may just go with the same starting 11 that were just humiliated by Hibs…. at Ibrox….. just in case you forgot…...
Please feel free to comment below or on the forum thread for blueflag's match preview here - http://www.gersnetonline.co.uk/vb/showthread.php?66089-Livingston-Vs-Rangers-Sat-4th-Oct-2014