John McGlynn: ‘Livingston would’ve avoided drop’

John McGlynn looks on as Livingston slump to defeat at home to Falkirk. Picture: SNS
John McGlynn looks on as Livingston slump to defeat at home to Falkirk. Picture: SNS
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John McGlynn admits he had to “carry the can” for Livingston’s disastrous start to the season but remains adamant he would have saved the club from relegation.

The former Hearts and Raith Rovers manager left Almondvale “by mutual consent” yesterday after 15 months at the helm of the West Lothian outfit, with his former player/assistant manager Mark Burchill taking the reins on an interim basis.

Livingston have won just three league games this term and sit four points adrift at the foot of the Championship, with their plight worsened by a five-point deduction levied on the club due to historic failings to declare bonus payments.

McGlynn revealed that the club’s directors instigated the talks regarding his future, hinting that a lack of confidence from the boardroom led to his departure. And, although he bears no ill will to the club, the 52-year-old firmly believes he could have guided Livingston away from the drop-zone.

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“The club approached me and they felt it would be best if I moved on,” McGlynn said. “I wasn’t for resigning and I don’t think they wanted to sack me, so we came to a conclusion in the middle. I was put in a position where something had to give.

“I felt like the players in the dressing room would have kept the club in the division. I have no doubt about that. With 20 games to go, the task was not insurmountable and I was hungry to achieve that. There was also a cup final to look forward to. So the meeting certainly was not instigated by me. But if I had achieved better results then we wouldn’t be in this situation. I signed the players and picked the team. I carry the can.”

On his replacement, McGlynn added: “Mark [Burchill] is first class and knows the players inside out. He has been involved in our training, tactics and everything else, so I’ve no doubt he can do the job.”

McGlynn, who became Livingston’s 14th manager in a decade when he replaced Richie Burke in September 2013, saw his tenure become mired in financial problems. Livingston’s former chief executive, Ged Nixon, and the current principal shareholder, Neil Rankine, are embroiled in a legal battle which could see £311,000 of the club’s funds arrested. “I certainly wasn’t aware when I took the job that there would be so many off the field distractions,” he said.

Although Livingston’s league campaign has been calamitous, McGlynn has guided the Lions to the Petrofac Training Cup final. And for the second time in three seasons, he will not get the chance to lead his side out in a final after taking them there. McGlynn was dismissed by Hearts just three weeks before the 2012 League Cup final against St Mirren. “Maybe it will be third time lucky in my next position,” added McGlynn, who is hoping for an immediate return to coaching.

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