Nandos catch-up with St Mirren star has left Livingston ace Craig Sibbald in no doubt about the challenge that lies ahead

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BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

CRAIG SIBBALD has revealed a natter at Nandos with his old lodger Danny Rogers has left him in no doubt about the threat posed by St Mirren. 

The Livingston playmaker starred alongside Rogers at Falkirk for two successive seasons, with the on-loan Aberdeen goalkeeper helping the Bairns finish second in the Championship in both campaigns. 

Rogers became a firm fans’ favourite, with his late-minute penalty save to deny Martyn Waghorn and earn Peter Houston’s men a 2-1 triumph over Rangers in December 2015 still a cherished memory for the Falkirk faithful. 

Sibbald, who is delighted to see his pal ascend to the number one spot with St Mirren, reckons those heroics just about made amends for Rogers’ reluctance to clean up after himself around the house. 

The 23-year-old said: “I was speaking to Danny Rogers recently, who stayed with me when he was on loan at Falkirk, and he was talking about what a good side they can be. 

“Some of their results recently have been really good and I think you are starting to see what they are about. 

“They seem to have turned things around and it will be really tough – every game in the top-flight is. We just need to win the battle, then hopefully start playing a bit of football and get the three points. 

“I still get on really well with Danny. We went for a Nandos the other week – so that was just like old times!

Rogers was a firm favourite at Falkirk

“I have my own place, so I gave him so he stayed with me when he came down from Aberdeen. He’s a great guy and it’s brilliant to see him playing again.

“He was a bit messy as a flatmate to be fair – but made a few big saves for us, some unbelievable penalty stops, so I suppose I’ll let him off with that.” 

However, there will be no room for sentiment at the Tony Macaroni Arena as Livi seek to bounce back from their 2-0 defeat against Kilmarnock in midweek – and Sibbald looks to kick-start his career with the Lions. 

The gifted midfielder joined the club in the summer after 15 years on the books of Falkirk, conceding that he has slipped into a comfort zone with the Bairns. But his bid to make an immediate impact was wrecked by a groin injury picked up in pre-season. 

Sibbald has been chasing his tail ever since, making just nine appearances, however, boss Gary Holt was full of praise for his showing at Rubgy Park after entering the fray on the 33-minute mark – putting him in line for a start against the Buddies.  

(Pic: BBC ALBA)

He continued: “I needed the new challenge, to experience that step up in level.  It’s a lot sharper in the top flight, while the tempo is higher and the players are fitter. But I feel confident that I can make things happen when I get on the ball. 

“I was at Falkirk from the age of eight, so you could say it was a bit of a comfort zone. It is positive to test yourself. 

“I was just getting my fitness up in pre-season and the injury just seemed to come at the worst time. It has been tough to get back in, given the boys have been doing so well – I’ve needed to show a bit of patience. 

“I’ve not had as much game time as I would like so when I do get my chance it’s vital that I take it and prove that I should be starting games. It’s about contributing when I’m involved and I felt like I did that against Kilmarnock.” 

Sibbald can at least take heart from the knowledge that gaffer Holt rates him. 

The duo worked together during Holt’s 14 months in charge of Falkirk, with Sibbald a key part of the side the reached the Scottish Cup semi-final and narrowly missed out on promotion to the Premiership. 

Sibbald added: “He always wanted to play good football and was always willing to show faith in me. 

“His first match in charge was the Scottish Cup semi-final against Hibs and he put me straight in at central-midfield, so he knows what I can do – it’s just about me showing what I can do on a consistent basis. 

“I think the gaffer and Livi has been the perfect match. He has brought a little bit of his own style and the way he liked to play and it has just added to what a strong unit they were last season. 

“No-one would have imagined we would be in this position at the start of the season and there’s no reason we can’t keep pushing and get higher and higher.” 

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