Livingston striker Liam Buchanan relishing ‘European’ tie against Crusaders



Livingston striker Liam Buchanan insists travelling across the Irish Sea for an Irn Bru Cup clash against Crusaders will not be an issue for the Lions, because it will be quicker than getting to Peterhead.

David Hopkin’s side were due to set-off for tonight’s last-16 tie in Belfast on a flight this morning and will return tomorrow.

Livingston picked up three League One points in last weekend’s clash at Peterhead after making the 165 mile trek to the Highlands.

19/10/15 TONY MACARONI ARENA - LIVINGSTON Livingston's Liam Buchanan previews his side's forthcoming Petrofac Training Cup Quarter-Final match against Rangers

And even though Belfast is only ten more miles away, Buchanan insists the half-hour plane journey will be a far better travelling experience.

Crusaders and domestic rivals Linfield enter the competition at this stage along with Welsh sides Bala and The New Saints as part of a revamp of the cup and experienced former Patrick Thistle forward Buchanan insists the players are relishing a trip into the unknown.

He said: “As a player, it’s great to go and pit your wits against a team from another country, it’s not the same old faces you’re seeing all the time and it’s another challenge.

“We’re flying out on the Friday morning and just going into the hotel then, and then flying home on the Saturday.

“It will probably be quicker going over there on Friday than it was getting to Peterhead last weekend.

“I’m looking forward to it and there have not been too many games that I’ve had to jump on a flight for so, in a way, it will feel more like a European tie than just a cup game – even though we’re obviously miles away from being in Europe. It’s something exciting.”

Livingston face a tough test against Crusaders with Stephen Baxter’s side the reiging NIFL Premiership Champions.

The Hatchetmen also lead their table after making an unbeaten start following the opening ten games.

Crusaders boss Baxter said: “There is a lot of excitement surrounding ourselves and Linfield with regards to this competition.

“We’re playing opposition that we wouldn’t normally play against and it will be good to see how we fare against Livingston.

“They’re full-time whereas we’re part-time so fitness could be an issue but in terms of ability, I don’t think there will be a lot between the sides.”