Ivan Konovalov focused on making Livingston debut against Hibs despite Russian's wait for family to join him in Scotland

Russian goalkeeper Ivan Konovalov is focused on seizing his chance at Livingston despite a lengthy ongoing wait for his family to join him in Scotland.

By Peter Wales
Thursday, 28th April 2022, 6:10 pm
Ivan Konovalov will make his Livingston debut against Hibs on Saturday
Ivan Konovalov will make his Livingston debut against Hibs on Saturday

The January signing from Rubin Kazan will make his cinch Premiership debut on Saturday when Livi host Hibs with No.1 Max Stryjek suspended – although Lions boss David Martindale had planned to shake things up between the sticks regardless.

Russia's war with Ukraine has caused delays to the process of getting his wife and two-year-old daughter, Ivana, over with him, but Konovalov is committed to the West Lothian club.

The 28-year-old said: "I'm not political and I don't understand what is happening. The only problem for me is I don't see my family in Russia.

"Every day I stay in contact because I have a small daughter. For me, the only problem is I don't see my wife and daughter and my parents because flights don't go from Europe to Russia. I would need to go to Turkey first. After the last day of the season I will go home.

"My wife and daughter are awaiting a visa for the UK, they have been waiting for two months. It is so hard because the UK embassy in Russia is not open every day.

"It will not stop them getting a visa, I hope they will be here next season. I have a contract for two years.

"It is so hard because my daughter is two and I only see her on FaceTime. But I am a professional football player and I understand it's my work. On the pitch I only think about football.

"It's a great feeling to be making my debut and I'm ready for the game."

Konovalov spoke little English when he arrived, but he has picked up the language with the help of his fellow goalkeeper Stryjek, who is Polish.

"I am not learning English, just listening and trying to speak," he said.

"The first words I learned were for the pitch. The goalie coach, Stuart Garden, helped me with what I need to say to defenders.

"Max knows the Russian language and, if I don't understand, I ask Max and he helps me.”