BUT for a dressing-room bust-up at Albion Rovers two years ago, Bobby Barr probably wouldn’t be enjoying the time of his life with Livingston. Two successive league championship medals and regular full-time football in the First Division illustrate the kind hand fate dealt the winger following his exit from Cliftonhill.
An exchange of words with Albion’s assistant manager, Todd Lumsden, at half-time during a defeat at Berwick Rangers in November 2009 saw Barr asked to leave Albion. He was named Third Division Player of the Year just six months earlier. Now, two years later, he is flying high in the First Division as a key component of Gary Bollan’s Livingston side.
He acknowledges the fact things have worked out much better than expected and is grateful to the West Lothian club for their part in reljuvenating his career. “I was part-time at Albion Rovers and I had a fallout there,” said Barr. “It was just one of those things. During a game there was a fallout at half-time and I was just asked not to come back. It’s worked out in my favour because I’ve ended up winning two league medals out of it and I’m back full-time. I’m not really bothered about what happened at Albion if I’m honest.
“I was told I could just go so I went on loan to Brechin City for a few months just to keep playing. I couldn’t go on loan to Livingston because they were in the same division as Albion Rovers at that time. In December 2009 the manager phoned me and said Livingston were keen to sign me so I had no hesitation. I went in and met the manager and signed. That was it done and dusted.
“I’m really enjoying it at Livingston. You can’t play well every week but I feel I’ve performed over the piece this season. There’s only been one league game I haven’t started so the manager is picking me and I’m thankful for that. I feel I’m improving.”
Livingston are enjoying an impressive first season back in the First Division after being demoted to the Third Division by the Scottish Football Association in 2009. Last month’s home defeat to Ross County was the club’s first at Almondvale in more than 19 months since Forfar won in West Lothian back in April 2010.
Barr, right, puts the prosperity down to the simple matter of good camaraderie. “It’s a great dressing-room, probably the best I’ve been in,” he said.
“We’re all genuinely good mates who get on with each other and we all go on nights out together. That comes from the manager and [assistant] Scott Paterson. They encourage it and we all have a laugh and a joke. Don’t get me wrong, when we’re out on the park it’s serious but off the pitch I like a carry on as much as anyone. Iain Russell does too, he’s one of the main culprits.
“We’ve all been together since the Third Division because the squad hasn’t changed much. We’re all in it together and that means you go to work every day and enjoy it. We haven’t been used to losing because we’ve won back-to-back promotions. We’ve lost a few times away from home this season but only once at home. It has been a step up for us.
“There isn’t much between the teams in the First Division, although Ross County were definitely better than us when they beat us at Almondvale. We’ve drawn with them up there.
“We’re concentrating on finishing eighth or above this year. We don’t want to be in the play-offs and obviously we want to avoid being relegated. Anything above that we’d be delighted with. We’re hoping to have a run in the Scottish Cup so, overall, that would make a good season for us.
“Ross County are on a great run and it would be really tough to catch them this season. If we were to finish third or fourth I think we would be delighted. The games coming up over Christmas are massive because we want to be looking up the table. We don’t want to have to glance over our shoulders because we’re getting dragged into a relegation battle towards the end of the season.”