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Partick proving easy meat for lively Livingston

Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership playoff final second leg
BT Sport 2, 3.30pm 

Livingston can finish the job in Glasgow and end a 12-year exile from the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership.

David Hopkin's overachievers take a thoroughly-deserved 2-1 semi-final first-leg lead into the return at Firhill.

Partick Thistle completely failed to deal with Livingston's up-and-at-'em approach and were suckered into trying to play football, which played into the hands of their hosts.

The West Lothian outfit have been criticised for their direct style of play, but don't be fooled - Hopkin has got them playing to their strengths and they know exactly what they are doing.

Thistle simply couldn't handle the physicality of Livi and, unfortunately for them, their side is crammed full of nice players.

You probably couldn't meet a nicer bunch of lads, but they were stunned as the likes of Declan Gallacher, Shaun Byrne and Lee Miller thundered into tackles and aerial challenges.

Hopkin revealed after the game that he had only had 15 fit players to choose from, but the ones who do play are probably one of the fittest teams in the land.

Traditionally, the Premiership team have gone through with ease in this fixture and Thistle will be hoping that their supposedly superior skill and home advantage can save them.

But Alan Archibald has shown precious little evidence that he will be able to tactically outfox teams this season and the Jags' five-year stint in the top flight could be over. 

Backing Livingston to score at least twice is an appealing wager.

Recommendation
Over 1.5 Livingston goals

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Match in Focus

19:45 Sa 26May

Real Madrid v Liverpool

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Real have won just one of their last four Champions League meetings against English opposition
Expert verdict
Real Madrid have lifted the Champions League in three of the past four seasons but they could struggle to retain their crown against a lively Liverpool. Real have been the dominant force in Europe, with last year’s 4-1 thumping of Juventus in the final in Cardiff showcasing their superiority. However, Zinedine Zidane’s men have not bumped into a front three like the Reds’ often - Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have netted 29 of their 40 Champions League goals this season - and they are vulnerable to the counter-attack.