Kenny Miller didn't have autonomy at Livingston, claims John Hughes

Former Livingston manager John Hughes has accused the club of failing to give Kenny Miller the autonomy he needed to recruit his own players and coaches.
Livingston have parted company with player-manager Kenny Miller. Picture:Livingston have parted company with player-manager Kenny Miller. Picture:
Livingston have parted company with player-manager Kenny Miller. Picture:

Player-manager Miller parted company with the West Lothian side on Sunday, with Livingston claiming in a statement yesterday that the dual role was not working.

Miller was appointed as recently as June by the newly promoted Premiership club.

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The 38-year-old wants to prolong his on-field career, but Hughes suspects there is more to the story.

“I’ve been working with Kenny over the last couple of weeks doing some work with BBC radio,” he said. “I got the text on Sunday night that he’d parted company with Livingston and then I read the statement, and I think the statement is just to cover all bases to tell you the truth.

“When you’re Livingston, you’ve come up to the Premiership and you have a quality player like Kenny Miller on the pitch..... he has the attitude and application – then you want to use that. I think that’s a cover story, I think the frustrations of Kenny was in terms of recruitment, not just players, and maybe another coach.”

Miller’s relationship with assistant manager, David Martindale, has been scrutinised. Martindale was already at the club when Miller arrived.

“All credit to the boy Martindale, if he is putting his money in then it’s his club. I think there has been a bit of friction and it’s come to a head,” added Hughes, who mangaged Livingston in 2012.

“Kenny was loving it, although he was finding it very difficult mentally in terms of preparing training sessions, watching games and all that stuff and that’s when coaches come in. Your coach, the one you trust, comes in and he takes all that off you.

“Livingston have had great success and it’s set in stone so Kenny has come from outside in and they’ve probably locked horns. I think there has been a break down in terms of working together.

“Plus, before Kenny got the job, I think Livingston signed four or five players. That should be on hold until the new manager comes in.

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“If you’re manager of a football club, your head is on the block. Any football decisions that need made, you make them. As soon as other people start making decisions that get in the way of your vision, then you’re going to part ways and I think that’s what happened.”

Hughes backed Miller to get himself another playing contract and, in time, another managerial job in Scotland.

“I think Scottish football needs Kenny Miller. I think we need all these young guys coming through. I think Kenny’s walked out because of his values.

“I’m sad for both Kenny and Livingston but I’ll say this to the powers that be at Livingston: You need to let the manager manage – that’s why you employ him.”

John Ward, the Livingston director and investor, told The Scotsman that combining the two roles had left Miller frustrated.

“I think he felt he was not getting time to focus on the playing side of things,” Ward said. “I think he felt he was not managing as he should be. We had an open and honest and clear discussion. And we decided to part company. There is nothing negative in it.

“We did not say he had to stop playing. The discussion was whether the balance was right, he is playing every game, every minute. But we did not get together as a board and say he had to stop playing. He maybe realised he was not focusing properly on both sides.”

Ward added: “We knew we were taking a punt. But at the same time we felt we were getting someone with a lot of experience who was happy to work alongside our current team. They could support