Livingston manager David Martindale is relishing the positive atmosphere he expects after the club gifted more than 4,000 tickets to schools, youth and community groups.
Livi have even handed 50 tickets to opponents Ross County to allow them to bring more young supporters to Saturday’s cinch Premiership game at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
Martindale said: “It’s fantastic because my wife Martha and myself stayed a large part of our lives in Livingston, and we are getting messages from people that we went to high school with, telling you their sons and daughters have come home with tickets for the Livingston game and they are buzzing. To hear from people you grew up with is brilliant.
“We had 2,000 here the last time we did it against Ross County, numbers were limited because of Omicron, but the atmosphere in the stadium was very positive. We managed to score a late equaliser.
“The atmosphere and the positivity these fans bring is probably different from your veteran season-ticket holders. This is a one-off for them and they are all coming with that positivity. The atmosphere generated is fantastic.
“It’s a great initiative from the club. We have done it for years but we have never really had the resources to implement it properly. It was one of the reasons (head of commercial and media operations) Dave (Black) came into the building, to try and build the rapport with the community.
“It’s not as easy as giving away 4,000 tickets. It’s imperative that the tickets are getting used. Our match-day operational costs increase significantly, we need more stewards, medical cover and cleaning.
“So there is a cost to the club but we are more than happy to do that if we can give fans in West Lothian Premiership football.”
Livi will host a County side on the back of a 5-0 home thrashing by Motherwell but Martindale is wary of Malky Mackay’s men after going down to Dundee United this season immediately after Celtic’s 9-0 win at Tannadice.
“I think it makes the game a wee bit more difficult,” he said. “Their thought process changes slightly coming to us now.
“We had it with Dundee United after the Celtic game. The opposition comes here with a different mentality.
“We can only focus on ourselves and the way we prepare. Our game plan isn’t going to change. Malky’s game plan might change slightly but I can’t affect that.”