TEAM NEWS - Livingston (Away)

Last updated : 02 January 2008 By Pars Mad

Unbeaten in five, three wins on the bounce…some might say times are good at East End Park again. Of course if you've been to any of the last five games then you'll know that, in general, we're still playing pish but at least now it's organised, shapely pish as opposed to the utter shambles we had to endure during Kenny's reign. Aye, its true that none of the last 11 points have been secured via scintillating, free-flowing one touch/two-touch football but Jimmy Mac has the players fighting again, digging in and give 110% for the jersey. And, at this point in time, that'll ding-dang-do for me any day of the week. We're not good enough to fuck teams over four or five zip and so I'll take ground-out win after ground-out win. And next up for the Jimmy Mac Pars revolution is a, some would say, slightly demoralised Livingston side at Almondvale - possibly the most soulless ground in Scottish football!!

But first, can I just simply ask why in the name of shite is this game going ahead anyway?!! I, like no doubt the majority of you, never had the chance to meet Phil O'Donnell and so my only memories of the Motherwell legend are of snippets from games against the Pars - be it for Motherwell or Celtic. But surely anyone with an ounce of compassion can not even contemplate playing or even watching football so soon after Phil's tragic and heart-breaking death on Saturday! Yes, life goes on and no-one wants to wallow in grief but for fucks sake man, surely the entire Scottish card should have been called off today?! How any footballer - let alone the Dundee Utd players who are being disgracefully forced by the fuckwits at the SFA to play today - could even contemplate 'carrying-on as normal' literally days after such a devastating incident is beyond me. Common sense, as always, takes a back in Scottish football!

And so with the Pars team bus set to make the trip across the Forth Bridge to Almondvale in a few hours time it will do so with absolutely no risk of over-crowding that's for sure, such is the extent of the current - or should that be 'ongoing' - injury crisis. Definate casualties heading into this afternoon's match include Greig Shields, Owen Morrison, Scott Muirhead, Kevin Harper, Roddy McKenzie, Sol Bamba and Darren Young. Almost certainly joining this deluge of players on the sidelines will be Bobby Ryan and Nicky Phinn. And with Stephen Glass and Tam McManus both picking up knocks in Saturday's 2-1 win over Stirling then the first eleven for Almondvale basically picks itself.

With keeper Paul Gallacher awaiting clearance after his permanent switch from Norwich yesterday - a tremendous bit of news to kick off the new year by the way! - its still uncertain as to who starts between the sticks for the Pars however the back four would appear to be set in stone, with the Woods, Thomson, Harris and Murphy combination looking confident and solid in recent games - although, as mentioned before, how anyone expects Danny Murphy, one of O'Donnell's team-mate, to step out onto that park today is beyond me. With captain Stephen Glass a possible absentee in the middle of the park it would look as though a McGlinchey, Simmons, Crawford, Scott Morrison line-up would be the most likely - with the latter recovering from a 'dull one' he picked up on Saturday. Should Crawford start, however, he'll have to improve big time on his second-half substitute appearance against Stirling when the game, quite literally, passed him by. Leaving Hamilton and Burchill - on a tremendous run of form just now - up front. Not the strongest set up in the world but its quite literally all that's fucking left!!

As has been the case in recent weeks I can't see there being too much between the sides. With Livi missing first-picks McPake and Tinkler in defence, and losing influential midfielder Kennedy after his loan spell from the Smoggies came to an end, the home side could struggle to cope with the pace of Burchill up front. Both goals on Saturday came after utilising Burchill's burst of pace to break up field and, as at the weekend, if runners join in support down the wings then this will be our best chance to get on the scoresheet. Another win today and we'll definitely be cooking with gas going into another string of important fixtures.

It's the new year, a new start, optimism in the air…2-0 Pars, Burchill double, simple as…'s hoping anyway. COME ON YE PARS!!