LIVINGSTON boss David Martindale has named three Celtic players who could find difficulty in coming to terms with conditions in West Lothian on Saturday.
New Bhoys Gustaf Lagerbiekle, Odin Holm and Luis Palma all arrived at the Hoops in the summer and the trio faced the traumas of Champions League football in a toxic atmosphere in the 2-0 loss to Feyenoord in Rotterdam on Tuesday evening.
The Swedes were both red carded in the second-half and the Honduran winger, making his first start for the team, was replaced by Yang Hyun-jun before the hour mark.
Martindale hopes the recruits will be knocked out of their stride when they swap the De Kuip for the Tony Macaroni Arena in the 12.30pm start against his team of battlers.
OFF NIGHT…Gustaf Lagerbiekle is red-carded against Feyenoord as Callum McGregor looks on.
OFF NIGHT…Odin Holm is shown a staight red card after his challenge on the grounded Mats Weifer.
The Livi gaffer said: “There is a mental energy, mental fatigue, not just the physical side of it after playing in Europe. You have to try and use every advantage you can.
“I thought the atmosphere was brilliant, it’s a stadium I’ve never been at, but it was a brilliant stadium, hostile environment, Champions League tune – it’s hard not to get yourself up for those games – even as a fan sitting watching it it’s brilliant.
“Let’s be honest, the synthetic surface, we all want to play on hybrid surfaces, of course we do, you have to try and use all these advantage, positives in our favour. When you go away to Parkhead, the surface is slick, 55,000 fans and it’s a big park.
“They use that to their advantage and we have to try and swing that round to our advantage.”
HOOPY DAZE…Luis Palma celebrates sealing his move to Celtic.
Martindale, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “There are players at Celtic who have not played here before, the boy Palma, Holm, Lagerbielke, they are leaving Feyenoord and that environment and coming to Livingston on Saturday.
“Although they will be helped by 8,000 Celtic fans being in the stadium so it will feel like a home game to them.”
Martindale’s hopes, of course, could be dashed once Brendan Rodgers announces his team on Saturday morning. Lagerbiekle is likely to play alongside Liam Scales in central defence, but there is unlikely to be a place for Holm in the middle of the park.
Reo Hatate, who came off in the 58th minute against the Dutch champions, and David Turnbull, who didn’t figure in the action, are the likely challengers for the place beside Callum McGregor and Matt O’Riley.
Palma disappointed in Rotterdam and the more direct Yang could get the nod on this occasion.