Livingston condemn racial abuse of ex-Hearts star Esmael Goncalves after signing announcement

Livingston have condemned racial abuse directed at former Hearts star Esmael Goncalves after his signing was announced.

By Craig Fowler
Tuesday, 31st May 2022, 2:04 pm
Updated Tuesday, 31st May 2022, 2:04 pm

The 30-year-old put pen to paper on a two-year deal, with the club holding an option for a third season, as he became David Martindale’s latest addition for the West Lothian side.

A tweet from Football Scotland reporting the news drew a disgusting response from Twitter user @allan1874, who said: “Black b******. Oops, did I say that out loud? LOL.”

The post was condemned by supporters of all clubs, while Livingston promised to do their utmost to ensure the user was “punished accordingly” by the authorities.

Esmael Goncalves played for Hearts for a year starting in the 2017 January transfer window. Picture: SNS

The club wrote in a tweet: “The club is aware of a tweet containing racial abuse aimed at new signing Esmaël Gonçalves. We’ll be following the relevant protocol to ensure this is dealt with appropriately and pushing to ensure the Twitter user is punished accordingly.”

Goncalves previously reported he was the victim of racial abuse during his 12 months at Tynecastle, saying his family stopped coming to watch his games because offensive comments coming from a minority of fans.

Signed from Anorthosis Famagusta, Goncalves scored 15 goals in 42 games during his brief spell in maroon. Signed by Ian Cathro, he was sold by Craig Levein a year later as he joined Pakhtakor Tashkent in Uzbekistan shortly after helping Hearts defeat Hibs 1-0 in the Scottish Cup.

Having previously starred for St Mirren, who he helped defeat Hearts in the 2013 League Cup final, his return to Scottish football was hailed by Livi boss Martindale.

He told the Livingston website: “I’m really happy to get this one over the line. I was alerted to Esma’s availability a few weeks ago and after some due diligence, I arranged for Esma to fly over and have a look at the club last week.

“I had a very enjoyable chat about football with Esma and knew he would be a good fit for our club. He hasn’t played a lot of football of late but I feel we can afford him that opportunity.

“He knows the league well and likes the physicality the Scottish league will throw at him and has an eye for a goal. I’m confident that Esma, once up-to-speed, will prove to be a valuable member of the first-team squad.”

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