Former Hearts skipper departs Livingston as club finances are laid bare

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Livingston manager David Martindale reveals financial predicament as first team coach Christophe Berra departs

Former Hearts captain Christophe Berra is leaving Livingston due to financial cutbacks – just five months after being appointed first-team coach.

The 38-year-old former Hearts, Ipswich and Scotland defender arrived at the Lions in January after the departure of assistant manager Marvin Bartley to Queen of the South.

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“I want to go on record thanking Christophe for all his hard work this season,” said Livingston boss David Martindale. “He has been the ultimate professional since he joined the coaching staff.

Christophe Berra has left Livingston after just four months as first-team coachChristophe Berra has left Livingston after just four months as first-team coach
Christophe Berra has left Livingston after just four months as first-team coach

“Unfortunately the club posted significant financial losses last year and I know I have to make cuts across the footballing department. If we had the resources to keep Christophe here, it would have been a no-brainer, so reluctantly we will see Christophe move on through need rather than want.”

Berra said: “Firstly, I would like the thank the manager for asking me to join his backroom staff back in January. Personally the last six months have been a great experience, one of which will hold me in good stead going forward and pursuing my career in coaching and management.

"Finally, I would like to thank all the staff and players for making me so welcome from day one. I wish the club and everyone involved the very best going forward."

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Neil Hastings has been promoted to assistant manager at Livingston when Berra arrived in January. But the former Scotland centre-back, who retired from playing last summer after a spell at Raith Rovers, is now looking elsewhere as he pursues the next step of his carer as a coach.

Berra has a UEFA A Licence and had a player-coach role at Raith before he departed. He has previously done some coach at Hearts, who may be looking for a new B team coach if Steven Naismith is confirmed as the new manager, with academy director Frankie McAvoy in a supporting role.

Meanwhile, Martindale has hinted that some additional players could leave Livingston this summer after the club confirmed the names of six stars definitely on the way out.

Captain Nicky Devlin, who has agreed to join Aberdeen, is departing along with Jack Fitzwater, Stephane Omeonga, Jackson Longridge, Jaze Kabia and goalkeeper Brian Schwake. They were all out of contract.

There could yet be more players heading for the exit door, though, with Martindale trying to trim his squad to free up space for new recruits.

“I've spoken to other players still under contract with the club and explained that some won't be in my plans next season and that they are free to speak with other clubs if the opportunity arises."