Livingston change travel plans as Covid threatens cup final and top six push

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Livingston have altered their travel plans for the rest of the season amidst concerns Covid-19 could deal a blow to their Betfred Cup dreams and top-six hopes.

It is likely to mean the Lions players will all ferry themselves to Hampden for their cup final showdown with St Johnstone a week on Sunday.

Livi have taken the decision the whole squad and management staff will drive individually to matches in the wake of last month’s goalless draw with Aberdeen.

After the Pittodrie clash, Gavin Reilly tested positive for coronavirus.

Despite two-metre protocols being observed on both buses the club used for the trip to the north-east, team-mate Julien Serrano and goalkeeping coach Tony Caig were forced to quarantine.

In a bid to remove the risk of the heartache of players being ruled out of the cup final unnecessarily, it was agreed for the remainder of the campaign players will take their own cars rather than sit together – albeit socially distanced – on coaches.

The West Lothian outfit used the new strategy for Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Dundee United at Tannadice and will again travel independently for this weekend’s away encounter with St Mirren.

It means one positive Covid-19 test in the coming 10 days will not lead to others having to sit out the cup final because of self-isolation.

And, with Rangers, Motherwell and Hibs to face after the final, Livi do not want to take any chances of pandemic protocols leaving them short of key personnel as they bid to secure a top-six spot.

Livi manager David Martindale explained: “You’ve only got 10 people on a bus and if somebody gets Covid in that 10 then three people are isolating.

“So, we made a collective decision to travel in cars so you’re in your own bubble, so to speak. If somebody gets Covid it’s not affecting another player.

“[After] the Aberdeen game, Gavin got a positive test. They were sitting three metres apart but the JRG [Joint Response Group] and the Scottish Government came back and another two personnel had to isolate, even though they were sitting three metres apart.

“So, with a cup final coming up and massive games, bus travel is not good.

“As a player, potentially you are going to be put out a squad for two or three games – and potentially a cup final – because of someone else picking up Covid.

“Everybody’s going home, they’ve got wives out working, kids. You don’t know what all their families are doing and it’s really hard to restrict that. We can only deal with our bubble.

“So, we made a collective decision that we would all travel in cars for the rest of the season.”
 

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