ALLAN PRESTON believes Livingston are still trying to fill the void left by defensive linchpin Marvin Andrews' departure.

The Livi boss will roll out the red carpet when prodigal God-loving son Andrews returns to Almondvale for the first time since clinching his dream deal to Ibrox.

The Trinidadian praised his former employers earlier this week for allowing him to join Alex McLeish's Rangers revolution in the summer.

And Preston insists that despite an inglorious start to his Rangers career, Andrews will prove the doubters wrong by coming good.

Preston said: 'We've struggled to fill that gap in defence left by Marvin - he was such a big loss to us.

'Marvin was such a massive player for this club and he was well liked by everybody so it will great to welcome him back to Almondvale.

'Marvin was a real gentleman and I'm glad to see he finally looks settled at Ibrox and is playing well.

'He's had a difficult start to life at Rangers but he is beginning to look like the commanding defensive player that he was with Livi.

'Marvin will get a great reception at our place come Sunday and he deserves everything that comes his way in his football career.

'I hope he goes on to be a huge success at Rangers but hopefully not on Sunday.'

One silver lining on the Livi clouds has been the form of midfielder Burton O'Brien who bagged a brace in the recent 4-2 defeat to Celtic in West Lothian.

Preston insists it's a crying shame that O'Brien has chosen to commit his international future to South Africa.

The Livi boss said: 'Bobo has been magnificent for us all season and has probably been our best player.

'He has been very consistent and he has even added goals which is a massive plus for us.

'Burton's loss to Scottish international football is South Africa's gain. Scotland have a new manager coming in and there is not an abundance of quality, natural left-sided midfielders coming through the ranks.

'I'm sure the new Scotland coach could usea player like Burton.

'The South Africa manager, Stuart Baxter, phoned me when Burton was on holiday in June and asked about his international availability.

'I think we are too far down the line for the player to change his mind and play for Scotland.

'I spoke to Burton and he wants to play for South Africa and I think he felt that international football would have passed him by.

'That's why he chose the South Africa route and it is a shame for Scotland but it was his decision.' Livi have lost their last three SPL games and slipped to second bottom of the table. However, their record against Rangers has been fairly decent.

They have won once and managed three draws in 11 attempts since they became an SPL club in 2001-2002.

Preston said: 'I watched Rangers against Aberdeen at Ibrox last week and they were fairly awesome.

'In our last game against Celtic we stood off them and let them play and found ourselves four goals down very quickly.We can't afford to do that against Rangers.

'We need to get in about them, close them down and upset them if we can. It's certainly not beyond us as we've done it before against Rangers.'