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    Allan Maitland previews Livingston match 

    Friday, May 06, 2011 7:53:17 AM

    I’d like to extend a warm welcome and congratulations to Gary, Scott, the players, supporters and directors of Livingston Football club for what has been another successful season for them and I wish them well in the First division next season. Since Christmas Livingston have taken full advantage of their full time status and have proved themselves to be better and more consistent than every other side in the league. Signing Kenny Deuchar was an excellent piece of management by Gary as it gave him an obvious Plan B when the conditions determined that their normal passing game was nullified - having said that there hasn’t been many occasions when Livingston have not been the best side and successful in obtaining the three points. Kenny proved to be a good addition to Gary’s excellent striking options with Iain Russell again scoring the goals that have helped his side become champions as he did last season with Stirling Albion. I’d like to offer my personal congratulations to Iain and his wife on the recent birth of their son Alfie.
    Last Saturday at East Fife was another frustrating day and opportunity lost when a victory would have secured our status in this league. Once again defensive mistakes and missed chances cost us dearly as they have for most of the season. In order to avoid the relegation play offs we must better or at least match Stenhousemuir’s result today – something that I believe we are perfectly capable of despite the fact we are playing the league champions. After coming so close to winning the league last season I understand the frustrations of the directors and all Alloa supporters who find it difficult to comprehend that we are in this position on the final day of the season. That same frustration is felt by myself, the players and the coaching staff and we hope that we can spare everyone the tension of the play offs by winning today. With so many good players in our squad there is no point at this stage in analysing what has gone wrong when the emphasis must be in encouraging the players to produce a performance at the top of their ability. Our Scottish cup tie against Raith Rovers was undoubtedly the highlight of our season but we have been unable to replicate that performance. At the beginning of the season I was convinced that I had signed players capable of providing Livingston with a realistic challenge but when the poor results started we have suffered a severe dent in confidence that has been difficult to halt.
    With the player of the year awards taking place tonight it will be a much more difficult task than it was last year when David Crawford was the outstanding candidate. However the performances of Jim Lister in his first season at the club have been excellent and his continued improvement gives us hope for next season. Michael McGowan is another who must surely be a candidate despite the fact he has only been with us since November – when the team have struggled to perform we have constantly looked to Michael to give us a spark. The injury to young Ross Philp prematurely ended his season but again we have a player who has shown that there is much to look forward to in the future at Alloa football club. Hugh McCann has worked tirelessly with our youth system and coaches to make this club better and Kenny O’Brien, Nicky Locke, Allan Ramsay, Ben Anthony and David McCaughie look best placed to break into the first team squad next season. I noticed with some pride that Greig Spence scored a hat trick for Celtics under 19’s when they won the league against Motherwell and followed that by scoring in the youth cup final at Hampden – not bad for a player who has missed most of the season through injury (we’ve certainly missed his finishing skills this season).
    I’d like to thank the players, the directors, the coaching staff, the supporters, Lachie and Pat for all their support this season and I hope that we can produce a result today for everyone to enjoy their summer break.
    Allan Maitland

    Managers Corner