Long way for a shortcut: Liam Watt’s Championship journey

Brechin's Liam Watt. Picture: SNS
Brechin's Liam Watt. Picture: SNS
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In the summer of 2016, Livingston made a double capture from Airdrieonians. Promising young players Nicky Cadden and Liam Watt both joined David Hopkin’s champions elect side as they charged towards the League One title.

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However, after a frustrating six months at the Tony Macaroni Arena for 23-year-old Watt, he decided to forego the chance of a winners medal in exchange for more game.

Watt wasn’t unfamiliar with the Glebe Park surroundings, however, after playing 10 games on loan for them just 12 months previous.

“At any club you go to, you want to play,” said Watt. “The season before was a good season for me so to not play was disappointing.

“Once the manager knew I was going to leave, he phoned me straight away and we got it sorted. It was an easy decision for me. It is a very good club, they look after you, with a good manager, assistants and staff. All the players are brand new, too, so it was the easiest decision for me so far.”

With Brechin just one of a handful of teams fighting for a chance in the play-offs, Watt admits that Darren Dods’ side were just hoping to be in the mix come the end of the season.

After reaching their goal, it was Watt and his team mates’ turn to put on a show as the underdogs battled past Championship club Raith Rovers before defeating Alloa Athletic in the final.

“To be honest, we were just hoping of reaching the play-offs, that was the aim. Livingston were running away with the title.”

“We knew it [the Raith Rovers tie] would be two hard games,” explains Watt, “we knew we just had to stick in, not make many mistakes or concede silly goals.

“The second leg we just went out, tried to play football, didn’t think too much about it: we just went out and gave it our best. After the late goal [to take the tie to extra time] everyone was gutted, but the manager got everyone back up again, he just kept saying ‘it’ll happen’ and it did.”

It was Watt himself who took the semi-final to extra time with an expert free kick from the edge of the box.

He recalled: “I just thought ‘I’m going to have a strike’ and thankfully it went in the top corner. I couldn’t really see, I just thought about getting it over the wall and on targer because anything can happen.”

Watt would score again in the final, another crucial goal in extra time, this time against Alloa, and was happy to take a penalty despite missing against Raith Rovers the week before.

“When I took the touch in and I saw the goalie running out, I knew he was going to dive thinking I was going to have a shot, so I thought about chipping it over the top of him and keeping it on target. I didn’t even notice the boy on the line, but thankfully he’s headed it against the bar and it has went in,” Watt said of his goal.

“I was happy to go in the first five [of the shootout], but other players who hadn’t stepped up the first time or had scored their penalty were going first. I was after wee Jamesy [James Dale] but he took the penalty that won us it.”

It may not have been the way Watt planned on celebrating promotion when the season began, but the midfielder is just looking to kick on now as he looks forward to Brechin’s return to the Championship.

“We know it is going to be extremely hard, there are a lot of very good teams in the Championship, mainly full time, so we are jut going to go and take each game how it comes,” he said, before concluding, “we might not be expected to win many games and we know it is going to be hard, but we are just going to see how it goes.”