LIVINGSTON Football Club have come a long way since they made the move from Edinburgh in 1995. Formerly Meadowbank Thistle, the club roared their way through the divisions to take their place at the summit of Scottish Football within six years.
A third place finish followed, and that achievement won Livi the right to a UEFA Cup place in season 2002/2003, bringing European football to the ‘Vale just seven years after starting life in Division Three.
In those seven years, the Lions picked up the three Scottish Football League titles available to them and won their way into the UEFA Cup. But greater success was to follow in March 2004.
After a late 1-0 win against Dundee in the CIS Cup semi-final against Dundee at Easter Road – courtesy of a Derek Lilley penalty – Livi secured their passage into their first ever major final at Hampden Park.
Despite their opponents – Hibernian – being tipped favourites for the cup, goals from Derek Lilley and Jamie McAllister upset the odds to bring the CIS Cup trophy back to West Lothian with a 2-0 victory.
That success however was achieved only two months after the club entered administration. That situation continued until May 13 2005, when the Lionheart consortium led by Pearse Flynn secured full control of the club.
Lionheart ensured the continued survival of the club throughout the years following their purchase of the club, but sadly presided over the relegation of the team to the Scottish First Division.
In June 2008, a new consortium of Italian businessmen – Angelo Massone, Tommaso Bruno, Alessandro Di Mattia and Tommaso Angelini – invested in Livingston Football Club, taking control from Lionheart.
Their tenure was short lived, with an interim manager put in charge of the club in July 2009 to oversee its affairs.
At that point, a Consortium acquired the Club which was demoted to the bottom division for a breach of the governing body’s insolvency rules. The new Consortium led a revival in fortunes which saw the Lions rise to the second league in the new SPFL structure, win the Ramsden’s Cup in 2015, and briefly threaten promotion to the Premier League.
However internal friction led to a break up of the Consortium, punishment from both the SFA and the SPFL, and financially damaging Court cases, which LFC won, but at the cost of sponsorship, low morale within the Club, and loss of supporter confidence.
New major shareholders emerged from this wreckage in June 2015 to stabilise the Club once more, and set it at last on a sound business footing. Some poor signings, injuries and suspension resulted in relegation via Play-offs in May 2016, and the Livi Lions are once more faced with the difficult climb back to the top division.
The following season, 16/17, was very successful and the Lions made a swift return to the Championship as League 1 Champions. The success was built on a strong united squad and sound management under David Hopkin and Davie Martindale. This togetherness was the catalyst for an outstanding 17/18 season which surprised almost everyone in Scottish Football. A solid, uncompromising defence led the Club into the Play-offs where they surprised first Dundee United, and then Premiership second bottom side Partick Thistle. The outcome: back in the Premiership with back to back promotions.
Surely it would be a one season only trip to the top League. Not a bit! This amazing team spirit continued under a new manager, Gary Holt, and the journey continued. The end of season 18/19 saw the Lions consolidate their Premiership status
Throughout these trials and tribulations, Livingston FC continues to produce young players of the highest quality through its outstanding Youth set up, and there is no doubt that British football would be the poorer without Livingston FC.