John Collins and Gareth Evans leave Livingston

John Collins and Gareth Evans have left Livingston. Picture Phil Wilkinson
John Collins and Gareth Evans have left Livingston. Picture Phil Wilkinson
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Livingston head coach Gareth Evans has been left “disappointed and surprised” by the decision of the West Lothian club’s board to dispense with his services last night after only four months in charge of first team affairs.

Evans and Director of Football John Collins, his former Hibernian colleague, became the second managerial casualties of the day after Hearts’ John McGlynn left Tynecastle when they vacated their posts after a meeting with chairman Gordon McDougall and chief executive Ged Nixon.

Gareth Evans

Gareth Evans

Livingston wished to remove Evans from his role as they were concerned over his “stewardship” with Collins deciding that if Evans went he was going with him.

Evans said: “When I met with the chairman and the chief executive I was surprised and disappointed with the reasons they gave me for the decision. Despite that I would like to thank Livingston for the opportunity that gave me. During this time the results have been good. In fact, they were better than we had achieved in the first three months of the season.”

The 46-year-old paid tribute to his former Easter Road team-mate Collins, saying: “I am grateful to the support John has shown me both during my time in the job and with his actions by leaving at the same time. The fact that he has walked away underlines the good job he believes I was doing here.” I took over from a larger than life character in John ‘Yogi’ Hughes when we were fifth in the table. I worked without an assistant and took Livingston up to fourth and we could have gone third on Saturday if we had won and Dunfermline had lost. Ironically, reaching third was a position that the chief executive classed as a success.”

The job was Evans’ first in charge of a team and he reckons that it has been worthwhile as he proved that he was up to the task. “The results I have achieved speak for themselves and I am proud that I am leaving Livingston in the highest league position they have been in for years,” he said. “They also have players representing them in international squads for the first time in years as well.”

“I wish the players that helped achieve these results the very best for the rest of the season and hope that the structure and high degree of professionalism that was in place at Livingston brings them benefits throughout their careers.”

Evans finished by saying: “It is a disappointing decision and one that I find quite strange but I am looking at it positively as I had a team playing good football that was climbing the First Division table.”

A statement from Livingston read: “We are announcing the departure of our first-team manager Gareth Evans following a manager’s meeting today where we voiced our concern over the stewardship of the club under Gareth. This despite the results being generally acceptable.”

“John Collins, having appointed Gareth to the post despite certain reservations, has regrettably decided to tender his resignation following our decision to relieve Gareth of his duties.”

The statement continued: “First-team affairs ahead of this Saturday’s home fixture against Airdrie United will be handled by current head of youth development, Richie Burke, whilst the board consider matters going forward.”