Gas phase photoelectron spectroscopy (Rydberg Fingerprint Spectroscopy), TDDFT calculations and low temperature STM studies are combined to provide detailed information on the properties of the diffuse, low-lying Rydberg-like SAMO states of isolated Li@C 60 endohedral fullerenes. The presence of the encapsulated Li is shown by the calculations to produce a significant distortion of the lowest-lying S- and P-SAMOs that is dependent on the position of the Li inside the fullerene cage. Under the high temperature conditions of the gas phase experiments, the Li is mobile and able to access different positions within the cage. This is accounted for in the comparison with theory that shows a very good agreement of the photoelectron angular distributions, allowing the symmetry of the observed SAMO states to be identified. When adsorbed on a metal substrate at low temperature, a strong interaction between the low-lying SAMOs and the metal substrate moves these states to energies much closer to the Fermi energy compared to the situation for empty C 60 while the Li remains frozen in an off-centre position.