No fans? No excuses – Livingston boss tells players to embrace surreal environment


GARY HOLT has warned his Livingston players that playing behind closed doors will be no excuse for letting standards slip.

Uncertainty surrounds when supporters will be allowed back in top-flight stadiums amid the Covid-19 outbreak, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch both recently suggesting that could be months away.

That would be a major blow to clubs such as Celtic and Aberdeen, who were hopeful of getting fans through the gates in some capacity soon after the August 1 start to the Premiership.

Deserted: Livingston also train at their Tony Macaroni Arena base

However, Livi boss Holt is preparing his players to perform at a deserted Tony Macaroni Arena – and has urged his stars to embrace the surreal challenge.

He said: “We’ll have games at home in the lead up to the start of the season between ourselves and, if we can find opponents, then against them.

“Everyone has got to adapt to this. There’s no point saying ‘there’s no crowd, this doesn’t matter’. No, that’s life. Get on with it – it’s no excuse. The moment you start looking for excuses, there’s no point going out there.

“We’ll prepare the lads as best as we can for no-one being here and see how it goes.”

However, Holt readily admits he has been unimpressed by the spectacle of football without fans across the continent – even if he is looking forward to being able to get his message across more easily.

He told Livingston’s official website: “They’ll hear me and Davie [Martindale, assistant manager] a bit more, that’s for sure. They can’t pretend they haven’t heard us when we shout on instructions!

“But no, I don’t know how different it will be.

“I’ve watched a lot of the Bundesliga games, English Premier League, Championship and, had on heart, I wouldn’t say I’ve enjoyed too many of them.

“However, that’s the way it is and that’s how it’s going to be. So let’s embrace it.”