Portuguese midfielder Hugo Faria has revealed how manager Mark Burchill has really made him ‘feel at home’ with Livingston.
Livi boss Burchill, 35, and 32-year-old Faria were team-mates at Cypriot club Enosis Neon between 2010-2012 and remained in contact despite Burchill returning home to take up the role of player/assistant manager of the Almondvale outfit.
However, the pair were reunited in August when Faria agreed a five-month deal with the Lions after a successful trial and has since made 11 appearances in the Championship this season.
The former Porto youth player is currently living with the Burchill family and says his manager has gone that extra mile to help him acclimatise to life in Scotland.
“We played together for two years in Cyprus and were room-mates as well,” Faria told the Evening News. “We had a really good relationship so he’s been a great support and has helped me adapt to the country, the weather and the football since I came to Livingston. I’ve known his wife and kids for a few years now as well so it’s not anything new.
“But like every other club, he’s the gaffer so we have to respect that – certainly on the pitch and around the club. But outside, we’re good friends.
“It’s different from what I have been used to having played in Portugal, Greece and Cyprus. The football here is much faster and more direct. It was difficult when I first came over as I had to adapt but I’ve been playing and I’m getting better.”
Faria’s current deal runs until the end of January and, while insisting he would be keen to extend his stay with the Championship club, he admitted: “I don’t close any doors on anything. “I’d be happy to stay so why not? I’m enjoying it but those decisions don’t depend entirely on me. I don’t like to think too far into the future because you never know what’s going to happen with the way the game is. Football is about living in the moment so we’ll see what happens over the next two months.”
The industrious midfielder is enjoying his best run in the side having started the club’s last six matches, Livi seeing a recent upturn in results with victories over Queen of the South and Raith Rovers. However, the Lions went down 1-0 to Morton striker Denny Johnstone’s penalty last Saturday at Cappielow, an outcome Faria says he and his team-mates didn’t deserve.
“We went to Morton with a clear mind of getting some points,” he explained. “I believe we did enough to score at least one goal, but football is like that. We conceded a goal in the first five minutes and that makes everything more difficult. It was an easy penalty for the referee to give and one that shouldn’t have happened.
“We had a lot more possession and we tried a lot more direct balls in the second half. It’s a pity we lost and we’re disappointed but we have to get ready for Hibs next Tuesday.”