Livingston make certain of title win

Another chapter in Livingston's short but eventful history was concluded at the weekend as Gary Bollan's side were crowned champions of the Second Division after a comfortable 3-0 win at Stenhousemuir.

The title has been a formality for weeks, but Brechin City's 3-1 defeat at home to East Fife confirmed it.

Two years after being demoted from the First Division to the Third at the hands of the SFL after financial irregularities, the West Lothian side are now just a division away from a return to the SPL after successive title wins - and their full-time status means they will be fancied to make their mark in the First Division next season.

Gary Bollan's side have racked up 46 wins from the 67 league matches they have played since being moved down two divisions, with their latest triumph coming thanks to goals from Keaghan Jacobs, Liam Fox and David Sinclair.

Jacobs diverted a Raffaele De Vita cross past Chris McCluskey on 35 minutes and, with the excitement growing as Brechin fell two behind to East Fife, Fox headed in a second goal just before the hour mark. Victory was assured when substitute Sinclair slotted home a Robbie Winters cut back in the dying seconds.

Bollan said: "I am very proud of the team as it was a very professional performance. We kept another clean sheet and scored three goals. It was great to come here and win the title by playing so well. The players both this season and the last one have been great to work with. It is them that deserve great credit as they go out and the win the games."

Livingston chairman Gordon McDougall, while equally delighted, said the joy of winning back-to-back promotions will not heal the pain of their double relegation in 2009.

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The demotion came about as a result of the club being deemed to have breached league rules on insolvency - a decision that has long rankled in West Lothian.

At the time, administrator Donald McGruther said the decision was "the death knell" of the club. However, McDougall and his fellow board members vowed to save the club and the investment of some 900,000 to cope with the cost of demotion is testament to the directors' commitment.

McDougall said: "It doesn't make up for the double relegation, it would never make that up. We'll never be able to put that to the back of our minds, it's just something that we feel shouldn't have happened.

"But it happened, it was outwith our control, and we just got on with it.

"There has been a lot of pain in getting back up and financially it's been difficult.It's great we're champions in plenty of time, but next season is when the hard work really starts."

There was a certain irony that Livingston clinched the title at Ochilview as this was the venue they refused to play at on the first day of the 2009-10 season as they had appealed the SFL's decision to demote them.

Livingston were due to play East Stirlingshire - who share the ground - but the fixture was postponed.

After they lost their appeal, Livingston regrouped and McDougall has since felt sorry for the clubs they have swept aside in the last two seasons.

He added: "I feel it's been totally unfair to the people we've been playing against over two years, us a full-time team against part-time teams. Some of them have made noises, but it wasn't our doing - we didn't ask to be put to the Third. It's difficult to say what the right decision should have been, but that's what happened. It's history now."