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Boss Jim Goodwin urges his St Mirren players to stand tall at Livingston

St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin has backed his players to stand up and be counted in the “land of the giants” at Livingston.

Goodwin concedes his team will be at a height disadvantage against the set-piece specialists but has been impressed with the way his side have coped with similar tests against the likes of Aberdeen and Motherwell in recent weeks.

The Irishman said ahead of Wednesday’s Ladbrokes Premiership contest in West Lothian: “You know what you are going to get with Livingston. They are a very direct team – balls up to Lyndon Dykes, play for set-plays and long throws. Anything within 40 yards of your box is coming in. It’s land of the giants and unfortunately we are not.

“We have coped admirably up to now in recent fixtures and will just have to do the same again, Vaclav (Hladky) will need to be big and strong and come and punch things and the two centre-halves will have to stand up and be counted.

“But it’s not a part of our game that we are blessed with, a great amount of height, so we have to try and avoid giving away silly free-kicks and try to avoid giving away corners as well.

“We know there’s times we are going to get out-jumped but as long as everyone is doing their jobs and picking up their guys and making sure nobody is getting free headers then I think that is all you can ask for.

“We are quite fortunate we have a goalkeeper in Vaclav who is willing to come for balls and catch and that can take pressure off defenders as well.”

Saints have only lost once in 2020, a 1-0 defeat by Rangers, and Goodwin has been delighted with the impact of his new 21-year-old central defenders.

Akin Famewo, a loan signing from Norwich, and Conor McCarthy, a capture form Cork City, have quickly settled.

“I think the two boys deserve special mention, just coming in in January,” Goodwin said.

“The partnership has got going right from the get go. The two of them have been outstanding.

“The test they had at Ibrox against Jermain Defoe, an experienced striker with great movement. OK, he scored on the night but overall he didn’t do a great deal and that was down to the two boys.

“Then they have come up against (Sam) Cosgrove and (Christian) Doidge and (Christopher) Long at the weekend… They have had a baptism of fire against top centre-forwards and I think they have done really well against them all.”