David Hopkin praises Lions' '˜winning mentality'as he departs

David Hopkin insists the time is right to 'seek a new challenge' after turning down a new contract at Livingston only 11 days after leading the club to the Premiership.

Former Livingston manager David Hopkin. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS

The former Scotland internationalist has ended his three-and-half year spell, which began in January 2015 when he was appointed Mark Burchill’s No 2, at the Tony Macaroni Arena, amid speculation linking him with the vacancies at St Mirren, Carlisle, Shrewsbury and Bradford.

Hopkin, pictured, led the Lions to successive promotions in his two full seasons in charge after replacing Burchill in December 2015 and had initially asked for time from the board to consider his future.

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But after masterminding play-off final success over Partick Thistle, the 47-year-old insists he is ready to take the next step in his career.

He said: “After a great three and a half seasons at Livingston and after much deliberation, I feel it is now time for me to seek a new challenge in football.

“I would like to thank personally the owner John Ward, directors Neill Hogarth, Brian Ewing, Scott Forrest, Allan Scott, David Mullholland and the chairman Robert Wilson for all their help and support and the hospitality shown to my family at every game, home or away.

“I would also like to thank them for believing in me and my vision on how to take the club forward. I hope they all feel it was justified.

“I would also like to thank all the coaching staff – David Martindale, Andrew Mackenzie, Colin Ritchie, Tony Caig, John Hartson and (kit man) Cheb. They have all been fantastic to me and been a massive part in the success we have had over the years.

“Whoever the next manager is, they will have a great backroom team and highly motivated and professional staff.”

A never-say-die combative approach was the bedrock of the Lions’ success this season and Hopkin also paid tribute to the players who helped deliver back-to-back promotions.

He added: “I would like to thank every player past and present who have all contributed massively in getting Livingston to the Scottish Premiership.

“The players have improved each season and been willing to take on new information and believe in my football philosophy. It gives me great satisfaction when I see a player improve and instilling that winning mentality I have always had.

“The team spirit and togetherness created by the players and staff will always be special to me. The squad the next manager will inherit will be a strong unit that I am sure will help push the club further.

“Finally and most importantly, I have to give great credit to the fans of the club – you have stuck by the club through the good times and bad and deserve to be watching your team at all the top clubs in the country. My aim was always to get fans back to Livingston FC and with the back-toback promotions I am sure you will all have an enjoyable future.”

Livingston said in a statement that assistant manager David Martindale would take charge of team affairs while a replacement to Hopkin was found.