Iain Russell: Gaffer and Scott were our friends and we want to get win for them

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It only feels like yesterday I was writing about losing our manager to an SPL club.

Several months ago Gary was being heavily linked with the St Johnstone job and then the Hibs job due to the excellent work he had been doing at Livingston.

Although unsuccessful in getting either of these positions, we all thought it was only a matter of time before he was given the opportunity at a higher level.

The last thing I expected to hear when I answered the phone last Sunday afternoon was that our gaffer had been sacked.

After taking over two-and-a-half years ago, himself and assistant Scott Patterson brought immediate success and did what was asked in regards to returning Livingston football club to the First Division.

Back-to-back titles playing some wonderful football, they managed to do it with style while breaking records on the way.

The club returned to the First Division this season but no-one was under any illusions how difficult it was going to be.

What were the club’s objectives? That is not a question I can answer.

However, the board’s objectives were not met and Gary and Scott paid the price.

I would just like to say how grateful I am to Gary and Scott for bringing me to Livingston. The last year and a half have been the happiest of my football career and this is down to them.

They gave me an opportunity and instilled confidence in me which has led to me scoring 34 goals in 50 games.

I speak for all the boys when I say that they both were not just our manager and assistant but also our friends.

The dressing-room had become a tight-knit group and although we felt the management team were our friends we also knew when to draw the line.

We were disciplined and professional when we had to be and this was proven in the success that we achieved.

Everyone wishes Gary all the best for the future and I am sure it won’t be long until he is back in management and proving his worth yet again. The squad are saddened at losing Gary but we are a very professional squad and will not let it affect us. Whoever the new manager is will inherit a very young enthusiastic group who are hungry to do well.

Saturday’s match at home to Partick Thistle is a huge game and takes on greater significance now. This week’s training has been very sharp and the boys would love to go out and win Saturday’s match for the gaffer and Scott.