Defender Declan Gallagher raised a few eyebrows this summer when he opted to leave Premiership newcomers Dundee in favour of Championship football with Livingston this season.
The 23-year-old was a mainstay in the Dark Blues’ title-winning side as Paul Hartley’s men sealed their promotion to the top flight at the first time of asking following their relegation in May last year.
However, his two-year stay on Tayside ended rather unceremoniously after discussions over a new deal eventually saw both parties walk away in the opposite direction.
But make no mistake about it, Gallagher has settled well into his new surroundings in West Lothian, slotting into the centre of defence and a robust partnership with Callum Fordyce already a real talking point among the Livingston faithful.
He has even got off the mark at the other end, although his consolation effort wasn’t enough to earn his side a point against Hibs at Easter Road on the opening day of the season.
Nevertheless, had Gallagher decided his immediate future had lay within Dens Park, Premiership champions Celtic would be making the call this weekend to the City of Discovery, rather than the reality of a trip west tomorrow to tackle Dumbarton on the banks of the River Clyde.
Posed with the presumption that a meeting with Anthony Stokes and co holds the far greater appeal, Gallagher was defiant saying: “No, definitely not. I’m just concentrating on my career and what lies ahead. I loved my time at Dundee but it was time for me to move on. I still look at Dundee’s results and hope they do well but I’m a Livingston player now and am here to do a job. This is the club I went through at pro-youth as a young boy, so I’m delighted to be here.”
On his rather fractious departure from the reigning Championship title holders, Gallagher said: “There was a bit of miscommunication as I was promised a certain contract and then it was taken away from me. I played every game last year so I felt that I did merit that contract they offered to me. I don’t really want to go too much into it though, the past is in the past so it’s time to move on. I’m happy here that I am playing regular football.
“Yes, everybody wants to play in the Premiership but, at the end of the day, this is a very good league as you’ve got Rangers, Hearts and Hibs, so you’re playing at all these big stadiums. I don’t really see much of a difference between this league and the top league to be honest.
“This league is always a hard league no matter who’s in it. Nobody ever comes down and cruises it. I know it really well, so hopefully I can bring that wee bit experience to some of the other boys.”
John McGlynn’s squad remains unbeaten since their 2-1 loss to Hibs, are sitting mid- table in the Championship standings, and with a quarter-final tie to Peterhead in the Petrofac Training Cup and a visit to Aberdeen in the League Cup still to come next month, Gallagher could be forgiven for having a more pronounced spring in his step than normal.
“Fitness was something that we spoke about in pre-season,” Gallagher noted. “We want to be fitter than any of the other teams in this league and I think we’ve proved that over the last couple of games. We’re playing right to the final whistle and that’s us now three games unbeaten at home.
“But we’re keeping our heads down and taking each game as it comes.”