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O Flower of Scotland

Started on 6 November 2019 by Imagine / First Post
Latest Reply on 17 January 2020 by ImThatSybGuy / Last Post
A tough Nations Group but a valiant effort in almost surviving. Another shame with Oldham just missing out and it is odd that nobody seems to be wanting to touch you after everything you have done in the club jobs you have had.

That Qualifying group should be a lot kinder than the nations league so I am confident that you will make it through! Great work as always.

That is very true mate, a pleasing draw indeed. Well, I say that now.

Very good Scott, very good :(

Ohh it definitely was tough haha! Didn't even expect to win a game in the group so was happy to have won the games that we did. The Oldham playoff result was a hard one to take after sneaking in to the playoff spots so late on and then to lose so comprehensively was gutting! I would've stayed with them had they gone up as well. I know, the interview questions are always the same though; questioning my many resignations, saying I couldn't handle the dressing room at previous clubs(untrue but probably because I didn't stay long to build up a great rapport), how I haven't lead a team to promotion and asking how I plan to handle both jobs. So I need to win something or achieve promotion haha!

Thanks, I really do hope so as it could be make or break! Appreciate the feedback mate, cheers!
An interesting career move, but a more so interesting dynamic from the Tartan Army spokesman. I'm intrigued to see if the discontent leads to the Scottish FA making a big decision. It would be incredibly unfair, I would argue, on Burns who has enjoyed reasonable success in comparison to those before him in recent years.

January-February round up

Having taken over Livingston mid to late on in January it was a mad rush to evaluate the squad, look at the positions we needed to strengthen, get those deals done as well as sorting the backroom staffing. In the end, despite many trials and offers in for players we only added two players to the squad. We let ten players leave on a combination of free transfers, mutual termination and one player left for a fee too as Hull Signed summer freebie David Davis for £80k which helped us cut the wage bill a bit. We were in for a few players that are out of contract in the summer such as, Ryan Jack and Jack Hendry but unfortunately we didn't have the funds for either players wage demands. They are on the back burner for a bit but I would love to get both players in ideally. The players we added to the squad were Ben House on a free transfer and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy on loan. With us wanting to play 4-2-2-2 we needed more options up front as we just had Lyndon Dykes and Dominic Samuel. Samuel's loan deal from Motherwell was very poorly negotiated though as we were obligated to sign him for £74.5k should he feature in twenty matches and having already featured in seventeen we had to drop him to the reserves. He isn't good enough to sign so I definitely couldn't accept buying him and unfortunately we were unable to cancel his loan deal either. As per the norm I created a solid structure of back room staff members. The most notable additions were that of Shaun Constable as my assistant, Martin Rennie and Ben Garner as coaches, Terry Boyle as chief scout, Jonathan Gould as goalkeeping coach and Yossi Benayoun as director of football.

My tenure with Livingston got off to a quickfire start like most of my other jobs as I faced my first game on my first day. It was Motherwell who were the opposition and I managed a rare win on it too! We were two up and comfortable before Allan Campbell netted a consolation goal. An important win against a team above us in the league. We rounded off January with a disappointing goal less draw to Dundee and a superb draw with Rangers who we twice took the lead against but the class of Ryan Kent and James Taylor shone through on the day. Rangers were top of the league when we faced them but by the time we were resoundingly beaten by Hearts it was the Edinburgh side who had taken top spot. Our Scottish Cup fixture with Queen of the South was so much closer than I ever expected it to be as the League One side ran us mightily close. Goals from our strikers Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Lyndon Dykes were enough to see us emerge victors after new record league appearance holder Scott Pitman had given us the lead through a penalty. My former club, Ross County, took us by surprise as they stormed to a 3-0 lead after thirty-nine minutes but our come back started a minute later as Eoghan O'Connell got the ball rolling in our comeback as we ended the game three all. Our positional rivals, Aberdeen, were next on our fixture list and it's clear The Dons weren't up for the match from the get go as we trounced them three nil. That was followed up with another mismatch as we annihilated Falkirk at their own stadium, a clear indication of their rock bottom of the league status. What followed was by far our best result and perhaps my best club result as our strikers Dykes and Ben House fired us to a two one win over league champions Celtic. By their own high standards Celtic were struggling a little this season but they are still only three points from top so to beat a team like that was a proud moment. An expected Scottish Cup exit followed as Rangers showed their superiority as they brushed us aside through Kent and Taylor once again whilst Lawless injury time first half goal proved more of a consolation than inspiration to fight our way back in to the tie. The final game of February was up there with the best games I've ever seen and the best comeback(s) I've ever seen too. Dundee United looked to have secured the win after taking a three goal lead in the first half but as we showed against Ross County, we don't lie down that easily! We fought our way back in to the match superbly and even took the lead through Steven Lawless strike around the hour mark. United broke our hearts when they equalised against us but we returned the favour really late in the game as substitute Jake Hastie netted a ninetieth minute winner. We beat Dundee United five four! A superb result amongst several other this past month or so.

Early signs have suggested that we could have a really good team here potentially. With a strong defence of Eoghan O'Connell, Deji Oshilaja, Brennan Camp and Stephen Hendrie. A fantastic midfield of Scott Robinson, Scott Pitman, George Lapslie, and some decent attackers. Our strikeforce of Lyndon Dykes and Ben House is also powerful whilst Rushian Hepburn-Murphy is a fantastic player to have on loan. Hepburn-Murphy is available on a free at the end of the season so could prove an inspired signing for the next manager. With players like Joe Chalmers, Ryan Jack and Jack Hendry also available at the end of the season this team could be seriously strengthened with such acquisitions should the Livi board decide to splash some cash.

It is indeed, something a little bit different from the norm for me. Rumour has it that spokespeople are full of it!

Livingston - March round up

The month of March was a superb one for us as we shocked everyone by climbing the league table even more. Things started off with Hibs visiting us at the Tony Macaroni arena and after taking the lead a minute into the second half through Ben House it looked like we were headed for the win against a team sitting just above us in the league but for a late Derek Bremner goal. It was a conflicting one to see Bremner score as I'm happy to see the youngster I handed his international debut to play and score but c'mon kid, not against me! House continued his goal scoring form in to the next game as a he scored either side of a Greg Kiltie goal to secure the win for us. Motherwell took the lead through Allan Campbell on the first minute, another player who was handed his international debut by me, and that lead was to last almost an hour. House scored in his third consecutive game to level things up for us, this time via the penalty spot. Things got even better a little over twenty minutes later when former Motherwell man Jake Hastie scored against his old club which was enough to earn us the victory against the team directly above us in the league. We went in to my third match against Rangers on a decent run but with a direly depleted squad. With three players on loan from them we were three down and then to make matters worse we were missing our starting two right sided players. Much like last time around though, we took the lead and this time it was Steven Lawless who got on the score sheet to end a poor run of form. Such was the theme this month, another of my international protegees scored against us, James Taylor, and for the third successive match may I add! He is having a tremendous season, with twenty-four goals in thirty-nine appearances, and I have to admit that I'm loving watching it from a distance. Or from the touchline now it would seem. With the game fairly even for a large spell Rushian Hepburn-Murphy scored his first goal since coming back from injury, a goal which proved to be the winner. So that means that we've done the double over the Old Firm already in my short tenure, I am well pleased with that. An emphatic victory over Dundee in the last game of the month allowed us to leapfrog Hibs in the league as we levelled on points with both them and Motherwell. When I arrived we were thirteen points behind Hibs who were in fourth and eight behind Motherwell who were fifth. We were dealt a massive injury blow after the Dundee game as our loanee Hepburn-Murphy was ruled out for the rest of the season with a torn hamstring. Livingston's new league record appearance holder, Scott Pitman, was named player of the month for March, with Ben House a close second. I was sandwiched between Neil Lennon, who got the award for manager of the month after five wins from five from his team, and Gennaro Gattuso, who's team picked up four wins from six.

Scotland European Championship qualifiers squad announced

Scotland have announced their latest squad selection for the start of their European Championship qualifiers in Christopher Burns' first international action since he received major backlash from the Tartan Army faithful after taking on the Livingston job. As expected, there were a few changes to the squad from the last round of games. Just the one forced change was made as John McGinn was ruled out through injury. The others were personnel changes as Stephen O'Donnell, Derek Bremner, Jason Cummings and Tom Cairney drop out. Apart from Bremner there is a good chance that those players may well have played their last game for Scotland. Ryan Fredericks returns to the squad alongside Ryan Fraser after injury seen them miss out last time. Also making their returns to the squad are Ryan Porteous and Allan Campbell. Despite their lack of game time for their respective clubs Scott McKenna, John Souttar and Ryan Fraser make the squad whilst Che Adams receives his first Scotland call up after committing to them as Christopher Burns decides that their ability outweighs their lack of match sharpness. It's old foes; Poland up for first for Scotland followed by San Marino.

Craig MacGillivray
Robby McRorie
Jordan Archer

Ryan Fredericks
Callum Paterson
Andrew Robertson
Kieran Tierney
Liam Lindsay
Scott McKenna
Ryan Porteous
John Souttar

Ryan Fraser
James Forrest
Ryan Christie
Mikey Johnstone
Callum McGregor
Allan Campbell
Ross McRorie
Scott McTominay
David Turnbull

Oliver McBurnie
James Taylor
Che Adams

In what was fast becoming a regular fixture Scotland were playing away to Poland in the first game of the Euro 2024 qualifiers. Liam Lindsay was handed the starting berth alongside Scott McKenna as opposed to McKenna's usual partner John Souttar. Ross McRorie was partnered with Callum McGregor in the centre of midfield with John McGinn missing through injury. With Scotland also switching to a 4-2-2-2 formation Christopher Burns opted to partner Oliver McBurnie with James Taylor up front. Taylor has been in inspired form for Rangers recently, as Burns has personally witnessed with his Livingston side. When Arkadiusz Milik put Poland ahead after ten minutes you could be forgiven for thinking; here we go again. James Taylor was able to allay those fears around twenty minutes later though, as he scored the equalising goal. After a fantastic long switch by Andrew Robertson to James Forrest the Celtic winger made it two one, with his goal coming less than a minute after Taylor's. Forrest was to turn provider for man of the moment, James Taylor, minutes before the half time interval as Scotland took a three one lead. There was to be no further goals in the second half as both teams came up short. Motherwell's central midfield of the 2018/2019 season, Allan Campbell and David Turnbull, were brought on together after an hour in what was to be an indication of a partnership in the next match against San Marino. Che Adams was also given his debut from the bench. This was perhaps Scotland's biggest test of the group and they've came away from home and got the win. They couldn't have asked for a better start.

Unfortunately for San Marino they are well known as the whipping boys of every international qualifying section and that was to be no different when they faced Scotland. Robby McRorie was handed a rare start in goal after Craig MacGillivray had conceded in his last six games. The midfield four of Ross McRorie, Callum McGregor, James Forrest and Ryan Christie were switched with Allan Campbell, David Turnbull, Ryan Fraser and Mikey Johnstone in the other changes to the line up from the team that faced Poland in the last match. Turnbull redeemed himself from the spot after missing the last penalty he was given in a Scotland shirt as he put the team ahead after four minutes. Scott McKenna doubled the lead fifteen minutes later as he headed in from Fraser's free kick. Fraser, set up by Johnstone, got himself on the score sheet just before half time. You would've thought that'd be the last goal of the half but Turnbull got himself a second on the fourth minute of added time as he tapped him Ryan Fredericks drilled cross. Fraser doubled his tally in the game ten minutes into the second half as he got a second chance after missing the initial shot from Johnstone's cross. Turnbull grabbed his hat-trick when he comfortably dispatched his second penalty of the game. Oliver McBurnie finally got his goal in this game after Turnbull's fantastic ball over the top found James Taylor who unselfishly passed the ball across goal for his team mate. After getting his goal, an exhausted McBurnie was replaced by Che Adams. Taylor got himself a goal six minutes later as a result of a fantastic ball over the top by man of the match Turnbull. Johnstone got in on the act ten minutes from time as he capitalised on a string of errors in the San Marino box following a corner taken by Fraser. Ross McRorie and Ryan Porteous were handed brief cameo roles after coming on for Ryan Fredericks and Liam Lindsay. Scotland were on cloud nine but perhaps slightly disappointed that they couldn't quite get that elusive tenth! As a result of fixtures elsewhere Scotland take an early two point lead over Iceland and Kosovo who picked up four points in their first two games. Those back to back wins ensured Scotland were on the climb in the world rankings once again as they moved up to thirtieth.

April-May round up

We entered the final six games of the season with hopes of nabbing fourth place after closing the gap on Motherwell and Hibernian but the end up was quite different. In what turned out to be a torrid end to the season we lost five of our final six games. Our one win came against Rangers and it was a convincing one too. That's two wins from our last two against my boyhood club which unfortunately derailed their title bid. It's clear to see that Hearts are our bogey team as we failed to beat them in another two matches since my first against them in February. Celtic were the next team to beat us convincingly but that was expected. It was in our final two games that our heads really went down as we threw away a two goal lead against Motherwell as they scored in the eighty-seventh and ninety-third minute to beat us very late and then Hibs were beating us two nil before we then pulled it back to go three two up but they then pulled it back themselves to go on and win the game five three. When we were leading Motherwell in our second last game we were sitting pretty in fourth but a late collapse against them coupled by a final day defeat to Hibs meant that fourth was out of reach. However, we somehow managed to hold on to fifth despite a horror end to the season. We were just lucky Hibs didn't fancy any more goals as a couple more would've seen them overtake us. With us securing fifth place in the league we had secured European football for Livingston for the first time in over twenty years, a fantastic achievement. Our record appearance holder Scott Pitman had a tremendous season and was rewarded with the Players; Player of the Year, Football Writers Player of the Year and a place in the team of the year. Perhaps a career best season for Pitman who is a key cog in this Livingston team with his ten goals and sixteen assists making him the teams most dangerous attacking outlet.

Lots of positives as of late. Ryan Jack and Jack Hendry on free transfers are excellent pieces of business. I'm pleased to see you've agreed to sign on for another year after a fantastic finish last season. I feel like Livi could really kick-on should Burns remain in charge for the foreseeable.
4 decent signings, European football and a contract extension for Burns, things are looking great for Livingston

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