Ross County manager Stuart Kettlewell expects Livingston to have ironed out some of their uncharacteristic slackness when the two sides meet at Almondvale tomorrow.
Livi sit bottom of the table on goal difference, having yet to register a victory in their opening five matches.
Gary Holt’s men built up a strong home record last season, conceding only eight goals, but they have already shipped half that figure in a 4-1 loss to Hibernian.
Kettlewell is not reading too far into the West Lothian side’s slow start, and he said:
“Livingston lost fairly heavily at home, and we’ve not really seen that.
“It’s uncharacteristic to see them conceding that many goals at home, but there have been a few changes in their group as well.
“When you play Livingston at their place you’re always going to know you’ve been in for a proper game of football.
“That’s what I’m expecting – and that’s what the players will be bracing themselves for.
“I haven’t really taken into account their points at this stage or previous results over the last five games, I’m expecting to play against the same Livingston side we faced last season with a couple of tweaks to the style due to personnel.
“I’m not reading too much into where they sit in the league because they have a brilliant energy and a brilliant work ethic, and that can change their fortunes.”
County, by contrast, are aiming to build on their strongest Premiership start on record which has taken them third in the table.
Kettlewell is wary his side’s impressive start will make opponents more determined to bring the Staggies down, adding: “We have to find a level of consistency.
“The opposition will have taken a look at what we’ve been doing, which makes it a bit difficult in the next five games as well.
“We all have the benefit of video footage, analysts and coaching staff to look over hours of footage.
“Everybody is trying to pick holes in one another. It’s just important we evolve over time and try to make sure we are not predictable in how we play.”
Kettlewell handed a debut to on-loan Rangers midfielder Stephen Kelly as a substitute in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with St Mirren, having not featured in the opening four games.
The Staggies boss says Kelly, who was on loan with Ayr United last term, must be prepared to show patience, adding: “There is serious competition for places in there, but I have no doubt about Stephen and I have no reservations about putting him on the pitch or trusting him in a game.
“It’s not necessarily that you’re doing anything wrong, it just may be that some players suit particular games.
“I have told Stephen that personally, and I’ve had a conversation with Rangers.
“I wouldn’t have fought tooth and nail to try and get him to the club if that was the case.
“There have been guys that have performed well in there, that have had their opportunity first.
“That may swing on its head and change at some point, and when it does Stephen needs to make sure he’s ready to take his chance.”