Iain Russell: Barca are best ever but we can adopt their style

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There is an air of excitement around Livingston Football Club.

The appointment of John Hughes as manager and John Collins as Director of Football Operations has caught the imagination of Scottish football.

Our new manager played in Scotland’s top flight for over 15 years, starring for Hibs and Celtic at the peak of his career. He then moved into management at Falkirk after finishing his playing days at the club and enjoyed great success there. Playing some wonderful football, he led the Bairns to the SPL and then reached the Scottish Cup final where they were unlucky to lose to Rangers. Hughes then took over his home-town team of Hibs, again endorsing his attacking style of play which led to Europa League qualification.

John Collins needs no introduction and, along with Hughes, is a massive coup for the club. One of Scotland’s all-time gifted footballers has shown class and skill, playing at the 1998 World Cup and in the Champions League. As manager, he led Hibs to their first trophy in 15 years, winning the League Cup in 2007.

There was certainly an element of surprise when Livingston’s most successful manager, Gary Bollan, was sacked. The players made no secret of how fond they were of Gary and assistant Scotty Paterson.

However, a lot of the doom and gloom has been lifted by the enthusiasm and ambition shown by the new management duo. As a team if we listen, work hard and buy into their philosophy then we will be successful. After only a week, I have learned and been inspired by the style of play they want to implement. I have written on many occasions about how I believe Scottish football is in the Dark Ages. This was never more evident than the infamous night when our national team played a 4-6-0 formation against an average Czech Republic side.

Barcelona play with a fluidity and freedom where players move around the pitch with no rigid formation. Yes, Barcelona are arguably the greatest team ever to grace our sport but that does not mean we cannot try to emulate them.

It is refreshing to be given the opportunity to play this way and, in the management team’s first game in charge last Saturday against Raith Rovers, Livingston proved they are capable of executing this style of play.

A tough away trip lies ahead this weekend at Ayr, who are proving very difficult opponents this season. Many people’s favourites to get relegated, they are showing they won’t go down without a fight. We’ll go there trying to implement the style of play that proved so successful last week. A style that I believe is the way forward for Scottish football and will lead to exciting times at Livingston Football Club.