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Livingston face Andrew Shinnie decision ahead of Rangers clash

Livingston v Celtic – cinch Premiership – Tony Macaroni Arena
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Livingston manager David Martindale is considering leaving goal hero Andrew Shinnie out of their Ibrox cup clash after his lone striker exertions against Celtic.

Martindale described Shinnie’s performance as one of the best he had seen from a number nine during his time at the club after the former Inverness, Birmingham and Charlton player netted a brilliant winner on Sunday in an unfamiliar role.

Shinnie returns to the stadium where he started his career on Wednesday in the Premier Sports Cup quarter-finals, but Martindale will think carefully about whether to ask the 32-year-old to go again against Rangers.

“I have got to look after Shinnie,” Martindale said. “I spoke to Shinnie in the group stage and it was a similar situation and I asked him if he wanted me to pull him out the squad. He said, ‘No, I want to start, I want to get as many minutes under my belt’. And he tweaked his groin.

“So it will be a conversation I have with the player and see how he feels.

“We have another massive game coming against Hearts at Tynecastle on Saturday, so we need to be very clever in how we approach both games.”

Martindale does not expect a more widespread issue with fatigue given Rangers also played on Sunday, when they drew 1-1 with Motherwell.

“What I would say to that is that Rangers had a game the previous Thursday, so I am not looking at any sympathy for our players or giving them an out because Rangers have had an extra game,” he said.

“It’s going to be a tough shift going to Tynecastle when Hearts will have a seven-day break and we will have played two games in between.

“Mentally and physically we should be in a good place and it should be a level playing field with Rangers, who have played a game more than us.”

Rangers loan player Ben Williamson, will drop out while Jackson Longridge will be assessed after going off early following his assist for Shinnie’s only goal.

Former Hibernian player Stephane Omeonga comes into contention for a debut, though, after arriving in West Lothian on Friday afternoon.

Livingston’s win over Celtic on Sunday stretched their unbeaten home record against the Hoops to five matches and came after Martindale had claimed the visitors would not enjoy their “horrific” pitch.

When asked what the secret behind their success against Celtic was, Martindale said in deadpan fashion: “The park, obviously.”

He added: “It was a totally different team coming here this time, Ange (Postecoglou) is just in the job and there’s a lot of new players.

“There is an element the park plays in that because a lot of the foreign boys are top internationals coming into the country and they have probably not played on similar surfaces.

“So it will play a part in the mindset. Hence why in the lead-up to the game I made a point about the park. It was tongue in cheek, but I was hoping Celtic were reading it. They will know all about it now.”