Premiership clubs face a leap into the unknown, insists Gary Holt


GARY HOLT is adamant the opening weekend of the Scottish Premiership will represent a leap into the unknown for every club.

The Livingston manager accepts that his charges will be flying blind when they face St Mirren in Paisley on Saturday, having been unable to carry out their usual depth of analysis due to friendlies being played behind closed doors.

Ordinarily an unbeaten pre-season – a victory and two draws for the Lions – would be a cause for optimism for Holt, but he is also wary that bounce games against top-flight rivals may have been phoney wars.

Livingston manager Gary Holt | Livingston news
Livingston boss Gary Holt

As a consequence, he reckons NO side will truly know how ready they are until the first ball is kicked following an unparalleled four-month period of inactivity and turmoil.

“I’ve got that excitement but I’m nervous at the same time,” Holt said. “Everyone is going into the unknown because of how last season finished, how long we’ve been off and how short the pre-season has been

“We’ve normally had seven or eight games by now, with the Betfred Cup, and you can still tinker with things in them.

“But we’ve only had three games plus our own [internal] game.

“Even those are different because you’re playing teams in your league and can’t go 100MPH and say ‘this is what we’ll be like in eight weeks when we play you!’

“It’s going to be a bit of a war of attrition for the first month and a bit until we get through the games.

“We all know roughly how most of the teams play, and they know how we play, but we haven’t seen the different things that they’ve tried to implement, and they haven’t seen the different things that we’ve tried to do.

“We’ve done as much analysis as we can get, but it makes it a wee bit more exciting as well because you haven’t had the league cup games or friendlies to go and watch.”

Holt’s feeling of uncertainty is exacerbated by concerns over conditioning following such an elongated period without competitive football, predicting a spate of soft tissue complaints.

“Touch wood the injuries won’t be too much,” he added. “I think it’ll be more tissue injuries with hamstrings and groins.

“That’s what I can see with so curtailed a pre-season and a lot of games.”

However, Holt is adamant he will not look for excuses once the action begins.

“We won’t look back in two months’ time and say ‘oh, pre-season wasn’t great and that maybe wasn’t right’ – It’s done,” he continued. “There will be no excuses come 5 p.m. on Saturday that we weren’t ready. They’re right up to speed and we’ll give it a good go.”

Holt, meanwhile, confirmed that there have been no further offers for star striker Lyndon Dykes following Barnsley’s rejected approaches for the Australia-born marksman last week.