SCOTT ROBINSON reckons Livingston’s new boys will soon be on song thanks to a team-building trip to Budapest.
The Lions touched down in the Hungarian capital on Thursday morning for a gruelling six-day training camp.
Gary Holt will put his charges through a series of sessions in the searing sun, while they will cross swords with Sered on Sunday and Paksi next Wednesday before returning to Scottish soil.
However, Robinson insists the toughest part of the week for summer arrivals Cece Pepe, Matija Sarkic, Nicky Devlin, Robbie Crawford and Marvin Bartley will be delivering the traditional initiation song in front of the rest of the squad.
“It’s always great to get away and, after this week, the new guys will feel right at home and part of the group,” said the former Hearts and Kilmarnock midfielder. “It’s massive for them to get a trip like this.
“They’ll get their wee singsong over with as well, which is the hard bit! They’ll all be panicking about that, but once that’s over they can relax a bit and I’m sure we’ll have a great time.
“It’ll be hard work in the sun. It’s meant to be absolutely roasting and I think we’ll be flying when we come back.
“Hopefully, this is the foundation we need to hit the ground running and get a good start to the season.”
Livi were the shock troops during the first half of last term, roaring into the European places following their promotion from the Championship. However, they faded after January and ultimately secured a credible ninth-placed finish.
And Robinson readily admits the Lions must improve in order to avoid second season syndrome.
“We’re not the surprise package now,” he acknowledged. “We’ve got to up our game because teams will know what to expect a bit more.
“We’ll be making sure we’re fitter than last season and that we can also mix it up a bit and change our style or tweak our formation – so that we’re not as readable.
“The work ethic is there to stay in the league and I think the quality is as well, but it’s just down to finding that consistency again. We went through a really good spell last season and if we can do that again I’m sure we’ll be fine.”
Livingston must also find a way to fill the void left by the departures of number one goalkeeper Liam Kelly, skipper Craig Halkett and pivotal duo Declan Gallagher and Ryan Hardie.
However, Robinson has backed the recruitment team in West Lothian to unearth a few more gems.
“The players we’ve lost are massive,” Robinson conceded. “But it’s down to the staff and the behind the scenes to bring in the right people. I’m sure they will.
“From midfield to front it’s going to be pretty similar, we’ll just need to bring in a couple of people to shore up the defence.
“They’ll be big boots to fill, especially [Craig] Halkett, the skipper. I thought he was unbelievable for us and I think he’ll go on to have a really good season with Hearts. But if we can improve at the back, I think we’ll be fine.”