Liam Craig knows what’s fuelling the Livingston juggernaut.
Because he sees similarities to the success St Johnstone have savoured over the last decade.
And the veteran Perth star suspects David Martindale’s tight-knit squad will be lapping-up claims they’re more about fight than flair.
“You have to give Livingston huge credit for what they are doing,” said Craig.
“To not lose in 14 games in the Premier League and the cup is incredible.
“You can’t do that without quality players who know what their jobs are and how to play the game effectively.
“They have loads of ability going forward as well. That is sometimes missed when people talk about Livingston.
“When I hear people speak about Livingston, it does bring back memories of how people used to speak about us.
“It’s disappointing because there are a lot of good players in that Livingston squad, just like there were a lot of good players in our St Johnstone teams over the years.
“You don’t finish third in the Premier League and win Scottish Cups and qualify for Europe year in year out if you’ve not got a lot of quality within that squad.
“You have to defend in games. You have to stand up to challenges.
“We did that at St Johnstone and you see Livingston doing that now.
“We know how difficult it’s going to be but it’s a game were are looking forward to.
“If we want to be challenging for the top six, it’s a game we need to try and win.”
Craig recalls Scottish Cup winners like Frazer Wright and Steven Anderson lapping-up jibes that Tommy Wright’s Saints were more dull than dazzling.
“We laughed at it. Big Frazer and Ando loved it,” he recalled.
“I suppose when you had me in left midfield and Chris Millar in right midfield, you weren’t blessed with blistering pace, stepovers and drag backs.
“But there was a lot of ability in the squad. It created a togetherness and a belief that people hated coming to McDiarmid Park.
“The amount of players I have spoken to, when I was at Hibs or players who have retired now, who say they used to hate going to McDiarmid Park.
“You loved that because it meant that before you even started teams knew they were going to be in a tough game.”
Craig insists the Betfred Cup final dress rehearsal won’t have any bearing on the Hampden clash looming later this month.
“Win, lose or draw I don’t think it is going to have much bearing on the cup final.
“It will be on a different pitch with a different build-up, a different occasion completely.
“There are a lot of games between now and then so personnel could change.”
Craig is hoping midfielder Murray Davidson wins his fitness race to make the final.
The one-time Livingston player sat out the 2014 cup win through injury.
And he’s awaiting scan results after being on the receiving end of a crude Kemar Roofe lunge in the 1-0 midweek defeat from Rangers.
“Muzz is someone who was so unfortunate to miss out on the Scottish Cup final, so hopefully results come back that are not bad and he is going to be available for the final,” said Craig.
“His semi-final performance against Hibs epitomises everything that Murray and St Johnstone have been about for years.
“It will only be right that he is available for the cup final.”
Craig has warned that performance levels at the Tony Macaroni Stadium will have to match the standards set at Ibrox.
“It was a good tactical performance against Rangers,” he said.
“The first hour gave us an opportunity in terms of staying in the game.
“At times at Ibrox you have to ride your luck and they missed a couple of chances in the first half.
“But a goal down we had a go in the final half hour and Allan McGregor made a couple of good saves.
“We put a lot of pressure on them and we were disappointed to get beat in the end. But we can take a lot of confidence from the game.
“With that level of performance, we will win more games than we lose.”
Continued belief is key
Perth boss Callum Davidson will rotate his squad again for the trip to Livingston after the defeat from Rangers ended a seven-game undefeated run.
“Since the manager has come in, we have had a system and a way of playing,” said Craig.
“But we can mix it up as well. We all know our jobs.
“James Brown came in at wingback and Ali McCann played further forward in the three.
“The players believe in what we are doing.
“It will be important to stick to the game plan against Livingston.
“They have a lot of good players. But we need to keep believing in what we are doing and being positive going forward, like we have been in the last five or six weeks.
“At times we will have to defend like we did against Hibs in the semi-final, but still have that belief we will get opportunities to score.”