Player of the Decade
Craig Halkett came to Livingston as a boy who had just been let go by Rangers and left a man, who had just captained the club to promotion to the Premiership having been pivotal in the League One title-winning campaign the previous season.
The term ‘captain, leader, legend’ couldn’t be more fitting or deserving for this man and the centre back is the best defender I’ve seen at the club in my time as a supporter, not just this decade.
He could do it all whether it be hard-tackling, no-nonsense defending, dribbles out from the back, or scoring goals – he finished as the club’s top goalscorer the year Livi were promoted via the Play-Offs, and did the same in the next year in the Premiership.
The way he conducted himself both on and off the pitch epitomised the whole club, he was a class act and will go on to have a superb career in the game.
Game of the Decade
Dundee United 2-3 Livingston wins this by a country mile. I went into it not expecting much, although we had finished above them in the league but United’s budget was far bigger than ours and they had several players that should’ve been playing at a higher level.
I would’ve taken a draw, or even a narrow defeat going into the second leg at home a few days later, but we took the lead early on and the atmosphere was electric.
Just a few moments later they levelled and 20 minutes later it was 2-1 until about 15 minutes to go. With not long left, we found a second wind and equalised through Josh Mullin. Then, a few minutes later we took the lead through Scott Pittman.
I’ve never seen anything like those celebrations behind that goal, it was one of the best moments of my life.
Goal of the Decade
That Scott Pittman goal is a contender for this award. As mentioned before, the celebrations in the away end at Tannadice is something that’ll live with me forever.
It epitomised the DNA of that team, Shaun Byrne running about like a mad man to win the ball, playing in Pittman who nutmegged the defender before sliding under the keeper.
It was truly magical. Jimmy Scott’s wonder-goal at Alloa from just over the halfway line is an honourable mention too.
But, for purely sentimental reasons it has to be the goal that took us up to the Premiership in the Play-Off final at Firhill. We led 2-1 on aggregate after our victory at home, and going to Partick Thistle we needed to just draw.
Early into the second half, from the edge of the box, Keaghan Jacobs smacked one into the bottom corner to send the away end into yet more crazy celebrations.
I’ve never celebrated a goal more in my life. It was at that moment that I genuinely started to believe we would be getting promoted and that the miracle was going to come true.
Biggest disappointment of the Decade
We ended the decade incredibly, however, the biggest disappointment must be relegation from the Championship down to League One.
I would argue now that it’s the best thing that ever happened to the club given what’s gone on since, but at the time it was horrific.
Stranraer were a side we didn’t know much about, they had nicked into the play-offs in League One after finishing 4th, but we went in as favourites and expected to do the job.
Ayr United were the side we feared if we were to get through, but it wasn’t to be. We were beaten 5-2 away from home in the first leg, which left us a mountain to climb in the second leg.
2-1 to Livingston with 5 minutes to go, and we incredibly clawed to goals back to make it 4-1, taking it to extra time. It seemed like a miracle for us to have brought it back and there was pandemonium in the stands going into extra time.
But, it wasn’t to be. After all the hard work and determination to get the tie level again, we were beaten on aggregate with Stranraer scoring twice in extra time as the game finished 4-3 (8-6 on aggregate. Livingston were relegated to Scotland’s third tier.
Best memory of the Decade
The best memory is undoubtedly the back to back promotions. The Petrofac Cup win in 2014 is an honourable mention though while we bounced back from relegation straight away by lifting the League One title in style, finishing 20 points clear of the nearest challengers.
We then remarkably finished 2nd in the Championship the following season, with the expectations merely to stay up and consolidate. But, after finishing 2nd we pulled off two huge upsets in the Play-Offs, beating Dundee United and Partick Thistle to gain promotion to the top flight.
Growing up I never thought I’d see my club in the Premiership for a long long time, so I’m enjoying it while it lasts. It was a truly unbelievable couple of seasons.
Most underrated signing of the Decade
Simple, Scott Pittman. Underrated is maybe a stretch for Pitts at Livingston as he’s probably most fans’ favourite player/first name on the team sheet, but if you look at it within Scotland it’s definitely the most underrated signing.
There is always talk of ‘hidden gems’, and this is certainly one of the finest examples you’ll see. The midfielder was signed from a local junior side in Scotland, he was unheard of. What he’s achieved is remarkable.
He walked into a Livingston side in the Championship and didn’t look out of place whatsoever and featured in every game bar about 10 since he joined in 2014/15.
Pittman is now one of Livi’s most played player in terms of appearances and after suffering relegation with the club, didn’t look to leave and go elsewhere and won the Petrofac Cup, scoring in the final, won League One, and was a massive part in the promotion to the Premiership, scoring in both first-leg ties against Dundee United and Partick Thistle.
He’s a club legend and is the best signing in the club’s history.
Best team of the Decade
It has to be the 2017/2018 Championship side as these guys had absolutely no right to do as well as they did, and they’re all club legends.
They were not only fantastic, hard-working, talented footballers, but they were all incredibly nice guys off the pitch as well.
What are your hopes for the next 10 years and where do you think your club will be in 2030?
Realistically, I hope Livingston can simply remain a Premiership club and consolidate in the league, surviving comfortably every year.
It would be brilliant to lift another trophy, maybe the League Cup or Scottish Cup once, that would be a dream. Is doing a Leicester to much to ask?
In all seriousness a cup or a European place would be the stuff of dreams, failing that I’d love the club to just keep proving people wrong and defying expectations by remaining a top-flight club for the next decade.
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