A Change Is As Good As A Rest
Livingston have the opportunity to pick up an SPL scalp and Dundee have the chance to forget where they are in the league
After the departure of John Hughes for Hartlepool, Livingston has entrusted his assistant Gareth Evans to take on the role as head coach. Evans has the chance to spring a surprise in a game he reckons his side are second favourites in. Dundee may be at the bottom of the SPL but recent results will have boosted the confidence of the squad. The chance to forget about league position will also ease the pressure on them. Evans said: "Dundee have stabilised in a higher league than the one we are in and are within touching distance of the sides above them. They were particularly good when they beat Hibs the other week so we know we are up against it. We have a young side but I am sure they will enjoy the platform of playing against a SPL side and will go out and do their best.'' Evans may have to do without striker Iain Russell who will be given until the last minute to prove his fitness after suffering a calf injury. The First Division side are already missing the long term injured Paul Watson and Jason Talbot for the game Dundee manager Barry Smith to looking to his players to make the most of their break from league business ahead of their William Hill Scottish Cup tie with Livingston. The Dark Blues, who returned to the top flight this season following a seven-year absence, have been fighting to escape the foot of the table on a weekly basis. However, a trip to Almondvale for today's fourth-round tie allows new targets to be aimed for. Smith wants his side to take advantage of the break in the hope it can spark a cup run. He said: "It's been tough this season and we've had to learn the hard way at times. We knew all along it was going to be like that but this is something of a break from it all. There are stresses and strains in the SPL so this will be a different sort of experience from that but it's still not going to be easy against a good side like Livingston. I have a group of players who always give their best and they will want to stay in the cup for as long as possible. I know what it takes to get all the way to a final, which I will be stressing to the players beforehand. To be fair, they know the importance of the tie and have been preparing all week towards getting a positive result.'' Dundee are favourites to book their place in the next round but Smith is adamant they will not be underestimating their Irn-Bru First Division opponents. He added: "We've had them watched on a few occasions. We know what they have to offer as a team with some good players all over the pitch. We will respect Livingston the way they we respect every other team which we come up against. That's what we always do and this is no time for approaching things in any different way. But if our players show the sort of attitude and commitment levels they have done in recent weeks then we will give ourselves every chance of winning the tie. But we all know how the cup works so we have to be on our toes from the very start and go about our job in a professional manner. I think they like to play the game in an open manner much like ourselves. That means it has got the makings of a good cup tie. But we will only enjoy it if we can get the right result to put us into the next round of the competition. That is the most important thing as far as we're concerned.''
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