With Gary Holt the primary Scottish Premiership managerial casualty of the season, Livingston are searching for a brand new chief to steer them away from hassle.
After two years of progress, a downturn in outcomes prompted Holt to walk away, with the West Lothian facet two locations and 4 factors above backside spot.
So how do Livingston exchange the person who consolidated them within the high flight?
A tough act to comply with
When Holt was parachuted in as head coach following Kenny Miller’s seven-week tenure as player-manager in August 2018, Livingston have been again within the Premiership for the primary time in 12 years due to successive promotions. With the lowest average salary within the division, survival was the one goal.
The previous Kilmarnock and Scotland midfielder had an instantaneous influence, profitable his first three fixtures in a seven-game unbeaten run to set the tone as his facet completed 12 factors away from the relegation zone in ninth. The Tony Macaroni Stadium – and its synthetic pitch – was changing into a fortress, with Livingston’s residence file the fourth finest within the high flight, though their away factors haul was the poorest.
Final time period, Livingston’s strengths crystallised. With future Scotland striker Lyndon Dykes acquired from Queen of the South to guide the road, their direct model of play had a focus and reaped rewards.
A fifth-place end was secured when the season was referred to as and solely the Outdated Agency collected extra factors at residence than Livingston’s complete of 28 – and simply two defeats – from 14 outings. Champions Celtic had specific motive to dread coming into the “Lions’ den” as they emerged with only a level from two journeys.
However, with Dykes bought in summer time, Holt’s facet turned rudderless this season with out their bustling talisman. They’ve misplaced 5 of eight at residence and once more struggled on the street, with 5 factors from a attainable 21 the worst file within the division. Ultimately, a run of 1 level from 5 video games resulted in Holt’s resignation.
He leaves having gained 33 of his 93 matches on the helm, with 22 attracts and 38 defeats.
A ‘cog’ within the construction
Livingston reside by the mantra that no man is greater than the membership.
David Martindale, head of soccer operations and now additionally interim head coach alongside Tony Caig, hammered residence that message within the wake of Holt’s exit on Thursday, insisting the “construction” of Livingston’s administration operation is paramount.
Martindale additionally made it clear the membership are content material to attend for the best man for the job and that there isn’t any rush to discover a alternative.
“At some golf equipment, when the supervisor leaves, there is a full change within the division – physios, kitmen, gamers all go – that does not occur right here,” he stated. “We have not bought the finance for that.
“There is a construction in place on the membership that is been profitable, so why would we deviate from that?
“I do not imply this in a disrespectful means, however with Gary not being there, nothing will actually change.
“We’ll lose Gary’s enter, however we’ve got sufficient to hold on regardless and that is how the construction on the membership works. The top coach is a cog within the wheel and, when that one stops working, the others should preserve going.”
Contenders for the job
So who’s within the body for the emptiness? Whereas Martindale did not precisely throw his hat within the ring, nor did he rule himself out.
He’s already concerned in teaching the primary group and denied strategies he has diluted his involvement on that entrance this season.
Having joined in 2014 as a coach, Martindale has served as assistant to earlier incumbents Miller and David Hopkin – and has additionally beforehand acted as interim supervisor.
He is aware of the membership inside out and appears to be the frontrunner, though he was remaining non-committal, saying: “All I am now’s Saturday’s recreation. I have been supplied the job earlier than however did not assume it was proper for my profession growth.”
The chance comes too quickly for skipper and midfielder Marvin Bartley, 34, who has begun his teaching profession by taking the reins of the reserve group however is not prepared for the highest job whereas nonetheless enjoying.
Different attainable contenders embody Tommy Wright, whose “most popular vacation spot” was one other Scottish membership after leaving St Johnstone in Could following a seven-year tenure that included Scottish Cup glory.
Nevertheless, with Livingston having proven a keenness for confounding expectation in recent times, do not rule out a leftfield alternative.