Livingston manager Holt takes inspiration from Kilmarnock

Manager Gary Holt believes Livingston can take inspiration from Saturday’s opponents Kilmarnock as they look to cement their place in the Ladbrokes Premiership for the long term.

Killie enjoyed a stellar campaign under now-Scotland manager Steve Clarke last season, finishing third in the table to secure European football, while Livingston avoided relegation in their first season back in the top flight following back-to-back promotions.

And although they now have a different manager at the helm – Italian Angelo Alessio – Kilmarnock have proved tough to beat this term, particularly on home soil.

Holt knows all about Killie, having won the Scottish Cup with the club in 1997, and thinks they are the sort of team Livingston should be aiming to emulate.

He said: “We look at any team that’s been in the league for a long time. Kilmarnock have been in it for years.

“St Johnstone have been in it for years, Motherwell have been in it for years, so these are the clubs you have to look at.

“We’re not looking at Celtic, Rangers and teams like that. They’re good to play against and it’s good to gauge where you’re at and how you want to try and get to those levels.

“But it’s teams that are around the same size and scope – they’re slightly bigger than us – saying ‘how have they done it, how have they stayed in the league for so long, what is their plan, can we emulate that and can we make it better?’

“And that’s what we’ve got to do.

“It’ll be a tough game. They’re very similar to when Stevie (Clarke) had them, they play the same way, they’ve got the same traits about them.

“They’re a big counter-attacking team, hard to break down and don’t concede many goals so we know we’ve got to be at the top of our game not to concede.

“Because you know if you go a goal behind it’s really tough to get it back.

“But we’ve got areas where we can hurt them and that’s what we’ve got to focus on. It’s about what we’re going to do in the game, how we’re going to stamp our game plan on it and not be naive to get caught on the break.”

Livingston went into the international break on the back of a 2-0 home victory over champions Celtic and while Holt expects that to give his side a boost ahead of the weekend’s clash, he wants them to prove they can produce such performances week in, week out.

He added: “I think any game when you beat the Old Firm certainly gives you that extra spring in your step when you come into training because you’ve now got that added belief that you went toe-to-toe with an exceptional side and got a result.

“If it doesn’t, I’d be very surprised – if we don’t get a wee bounce from the lads – but you’ve got to then take it into the next game.

“Because that’s where everybody will be looking at you. Everybody will be solely focused now on ‘can they do it again in the next game?’.

“And it’s something that we’ve tried to hammer into the players that you have to turn up every week and produce those levels and produce those performances to get the plaudits.”

Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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