It doesn’t matter that they’ve only been a club for 18 years. Every football fan will tell you that is more than enough time for your eyes to be inflicted by the horrendous displays offered up by any number of footballers suffering from a talent deficiency. Considering they’ve had a top flight demotion and a year spent in the bottom tier of league football we looked forward to seeing Livingston’s edition of this blog. For the privilege we turned to Lions fan Dave Black to pick his Worst XI select from his time watching Almondvale’s finest.
I thought it would be relatively straightforward to jot down an all-time worst Livingston side – we’ve only been formed since 1995 so surely we couldn’t have had that many bad players? I was wrong.
As the list of potential candidates passed the 60 mark, I soon realised that this was going to be a bit tougher than first imagined. Of course, it was also a challenge to try and differentiate between those who were really bad and those whose names are lodged in mind purely for being obscure signings.
So with no further ado, I give to you the worst Livingston FC side of all time.
GOALKEEPER – Dave McEwan
It could be argued that I’m being harsh by picking McEwan here but he’s one that particularly sticks in mind. He was a guy who came through the youth system and was more often than not found on the bench. However, an injury to our usual number one at the time, Alan Main, meant that Dave would take his place between the sticks for a midweek Scottish Cup tie away to Dunfermline. A couple of neat saves early on looked to have settled the travelling support and with the game still goalless at half-time, the ‘young lad in goals’ had all but been forgotten about. Step forward Craig Brewster. A relatively tame looking shot from the big striker looked to be harmless but somehow, McEwan managed to completely misjudge it and the ball trickled past him into the net. ‘Keepers make mistakes and it’s often argued that it’s how they then deal with such errors which will make or break them. Well, fluffing a goal kick straight to Brewster’s feet 15 minutes later for him to chip you from 40 yards and dump your side out of the cup wasn’t the best way to get over the first mistake. He rarely, if ever, featured for the club again and was last known to be playing Junior football with Larkhall Thistle.
LEFT BACK – Craig James
A player who came to us at the beginning of the 2007/2008 season after being released by Darlington and having not done enough to earn a permanent deal with York. Prior to those spells, he’d been at Sunderland and Hibs and many thought he’d come in and do a job for us at left back. The problem, however, was that he wasn’t very good. He liked to go forward but wasn’t very keen on coming back. He wasn’t really any good at going forward though so we spent most of the time with no-one at left back and an extra player doing nothing going forward. He somehow managed 29 appearances in that season and unsurprisingly, we dropped down the table, only avoiding the relegation play-off place by two points.
RIGHT BACK – Maurice Ross
Signed by Gary Bollan midway through the 2011/2012 season, Maurice Ross looked to be a great addition. He knew the Scottish game – he’d won everything domestically with Rangers as well as playing in the SPL with Aberdeen and Motherwell whilst picking up 13 Scotland caps in the process. He’d played south of the border with Wolves and Sheffield Wednesday before stints in Norway, Turkey and China. A wealth of experience and at only 30 years old, still young enough to help us push for promotion back to the SPL. Well, so we thought. Ross was well off the pace and was soon found out by opponents, constantly getting caught out with passes in behind him. We got eight games out of him before he left in the January for Norway.
CENTRE BACK – Greg Strong
Played at the heart of defence in the season we were relegated from the SPL. Was also thrown up front from time to time. He wasn’t much use in either position. Most commonly remembered by Livi fans for his ‘offside’ shout away to Dunfermline. Dunfermline were six points ahead of us at the bottom of the table so we needed a win to close that gap and give ourselves a chance of survival. With the game evenly in the balance, Dunfermline play a ball over the top and as Noel Hunt ran past Strong, who stopped to shout for offside. Not one other person in the ground even considered an offside shout based on the fact Hunt ran for a good four or five yards to get past Strong after the ball had been played. Dunfermline scored, won the game and we ended up relegated. Oh aye, and he also gave away the penalty in the League Cup semi-final that Dunfermline scored from to knock us out 1-0. Certainly best forgotten.
CENTRE BACK – Ewan Moyes
Signed on loan from Hibs when we were dumped into the Third Division for the 2009-2010 season. Scoring an own goal in a 1-0 defeat on your debut is never going to be a great start and following that up with a red card just a few games later wasn’t going to help matters. When you make less than ten appearances for a club, those two things accompanied by less than impressive displays only result in one thing – an appearance in a Terrace Podcast worst ever select.
LEFT MIDFIELDER – Aaron Conway
Another Gary Bollan signing who failed to cut the mustard. Having seen Conway as a youngster in his Dundee United days, Bollan brought him to Livi after spells with Carnoustie Panmure and East Fife. Played as a winger, Conway only managed 13 appearances over the season with most of those coming from the subs bench. He had pace but lacked football ability. Got up and down the line well but the issue arose when he got on the ball as he didn’t ever do much with it. Dropped down the leagues and is now with last with Buckie Thistle in the Highland League.
RIGHT MIDFIELDER – Steven Boyack
Boyack joined us for the 2004-2005 campaign and his arrival excited many Livi fans. He’d moved from Rangers to Dundee for £125k and then from Dundee to Hearts for £50k so was obviously well thought of within the Scottish game. However, after a poor start to the season, Boyack made only seven appearances for us before moving down south to Boston United in the January of the same season. A signing, like so many, that looked good on paper but just didn’t do the business on the pitch. Only two years after leaving us, Boyack was back playing in the area, but this time for Bathgate Thistle in the Junior leagues.
CENTRE MIDFIELDER – Attila Kriston
When you ask many Livi fans to name the worst player we’ve had, Attila Kriston is a name that you’ll hear quite a lot. Kriston signed a short-term deal in January 2005 along with two other Hungarian players – Gabor Vincze and Ferenc Horvath. Kriston was allegedly a central midfielder but his 6ft 6” height really made him look like a goalkeeper playing outfield. He was a giant of a man and looked incredibly awkward when trying to ‘pull the strings’ in the midfield area. He made five league appearances and we lost every single one – never a football player in a million years.
CENTRE MIDFIELDER – Derek Adams
Derek Adams came to us from Aberdeen for the 2005/2006 season and Paul Lambert seen him as being the man to steady the ship in the middle of the park. Given that Lambert only managed two wins in the league in his eight month spell, it’s fair to say that ship was never steadied. Adams is the only player I’ve ever seen that plays more backwards passes than Barry Ferguson and that’s some achievement. Time after time, he’d kill our own attacks by slowing the play right down and rolling the ball back to a defender who’d more often than not, hoof the ball forward under pressure. It was no surprise that we only managed 25 goals in the 38 league games that season and ended up relegated.
CENTRE FORWARD – Noel Whelan
Wee fat Robbo brought in back-fat Noel towards the end of the 2005-2006 campaign hoping he’d be the man to score the goals to keep us up. Safe to say his one goal in eight games meant we still went down. He was slow, unfit and looked a few pies overweight. The one goal he did score was away to Motherwell – we were 1-0 down, he came on and equalised with 10 minutes left and ran to the Motherwell fans in attempt to noise them up only for Motherwell to score with the last kick of the game and get the last laugh. Was last seen getting papped out in the first round of “Celebrity Masterchef” (Celebrity? Really?!)
CENTRE FORWARD – Marc Libbra
Allan Preston brought Libbra to Livi in 2004 and on paper, he didn’t look too bad a signing. He’d done well at Norwich and Hibs and was coming to us off the back of a double figure goals season with Ajaccio in France. It didn’t take long to realise he wasn’t going to be finding that sort of form in a Livi shirt He failed to find the net in any of his 12 appearances that season and slowly became one of those strikers that even if he was still running around the Almondvale pitch right now, he’d still not have scored.
SUBS – Mariuz Liberda, Alan Kernaghan, Dubi Tesevic, Lee Matthews & Jamie Mole.
No explanation needed for any of the subs – any Livi fans who remember any of the five will know that a subs bench is certainly the right place for these guys.
MANAGER – Paul Lambert
I still can’t quite believe that Lambert is where he is now. Quite easily the worst manager we’ve ever had (and we’ve had quite a few!). Only two league wins in 26 games, a record 7-0 defeat away to Hibs, dumped out the Scottish Cup by Alloa and ultimately the man who led us to relegation. He could have probably edged a place in the starting line-up too after registering himself as a player in a desperation move – we didn’t win a game that he played in either. Very obviously given the job because of his name and he was never ready to take on a side that were in our position. Starting again from the bottom of English football with Wycombe obviously gave him time to find his own style and he’s benefited from that but enough of the niceties, he was rotten with us and takes a place in the dugout as the manager of the worst ever Livingston select.
Oh, and by the way, this select shall be playing in our horrific deck chair strip of the 2004/2005 season – a real shocker that Livi fans hated.
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