BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
Livingston have been dealt a huge blow for tomorrow’s daunting clash with on-form Rangers after they failed with an SFA appeal to overturn the red card shown to defender Ben Gordon last weekend.
Gordon, the summer signing from Alloa Athletic, was sent-off after just half an hour of Livingston’s eventual 4-2 defeat to Morton for hauling down Connor Pepper with the game still goalless.
The Lions contested referee Euan Anderson’s decision to dismiss the 29-year-old for ‘violent conduct’ when they felt Gordon had instead been responsible for a professional trip.
However, their appeal was thrown out at Hampden yesterday, leaving them without a key defender heading to Ibrox to face a free-scoring Rangers who have netted 35 times in nine games – and an incredible five in each of their last three outings.
Manager Mark Burchill represented the Almondvale outfit before the disciplinary panel at the national stadium and feels the decision to uphold the red card could cause more problems in future.
He said: “We failed in our appeal. They felt it was violent conduct, so it stays as a red card and a two-match ban.
“I made the representation myself and I felt we put forward a very good case. I think you’re opening a can of worms if you say that’s violent conduct and the use of excessive force.
“I felt it was nothing more than a trip but you win some and you lose some, and we’ve lost that one and we need to get on with it.”
The task facing Livingston could scarcely be harder. The Lions are currently propping up the Championship with just one point and are taking on a record-breaking Rangers team that have won nine consecutive games.
However, Burchill has been delving into his own past for inspiration as he bids to steer the West Lothian club to an unlikely result in Govan.
He added: “You’re against Rangers and where better to start getting the ball rolling in the league? Ibrox is a very difficult place and they are a fantastic team.
“But when I was at Dunfermline one of our best wins was away to Celtic, who were on a long unbeaten run.
“I played with Hearts when we won at Parkhead as well, so you can go and beat the big teams on their own pitch.
“You have to make sure your tactics are right, your players are mentally focused and they are ready.
“We are expected to get nothing, there’s no pressure on us whatsoever, and I think we need to try and use that and make sure we’re focused on what we’re trying to do.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for anyone playing in the Championship to go and play in front of 45,000 or whatever it may be on Saturday.
“We’ll all go and enjoy it but one thing’s for sure we want to put on a good performance for the fans and show we’re going in the right direction.”